Developer Sterling Bay broke ground Wednesday on a new 11-story office development at 345 N. Morgan in the Fulton Market District. The 200,000-square-foot building received its full building permit in July and replaces a vacant lot between the Ace Hotel to the south and Metra tracks to the north.

Designed by Eckenhoff Saunders Architects, the development at 345 N. Morgan Street—which is also marketed under the name "Three Four Five"—features a masonry facade with arch-shaped windows on the upper level. The upcoming building will also contain ground-floor retail space, a 34-car parking garage, a fitness center, a coworking library, and an outdoor deck on the 11th floor.

Courtesy Sterling Bay

Sterling Bay principal Keating Crown thanked the partners on the development, including construction lenders Bank OZK and Pacific Coast Capital, for their patience over a tumultuous year and a half.  "We were ready to break ground in early March [2020]," said Crown. "COVID hit and we had to shut everything down. But our partners stuck with us. We designed a great project, and it's exciting to get it going today."

The development team is breaking ground without any tenants signed—a bet that demand for office space in the area will continue. According to Sterling Bay, the speculative project could welcome occupants in as little as 13 months. Sticking to that timeline, general contractor Skender Construction is on track to complete 345 N. Morgan in late summer or early fall 2022.

Jay Koziarz/Urbanize

Ald. Walter Brunett Jr. (27th) praised Sterling Bay for "spearheading" the West Loop's transformation by attracting companies like Google and McDonald's to the area. The elected official also took a moment to rib the developer for abandoning its original plan to build a multiscreen cinema and parking garage at 345 N. Morgan.

"Sterling Bay told me there was going to be a movie theater here," joked Burnett. "I was ready to take my wife to the shows, sit down, and eat some popcorn. But anyway, we want to commend Sterling Bay for everything they've done for the city of Chicago."