Just as one Fulton Market drive-through bank prepares to bite the dust for a new office development, another could soon be replaced by a 380-foot-tall apartment tower.

Prolific local developer Sterling Bay took the wraps off its latest West Loop project Tuesday night at a virtual presentation hosted by Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and the West Loop Community Organization. 

Slated for 160 N. Morgan Street, the proposed 33-story building would deliver 320 rental units just steps from the CTA's Morgan Green Line stop. The transit-oriented project would contain garage parking for 90 cars plus 2,800 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The 380-foot apartment tower slated for 160 N. Morgan (center) will be one of the tallest West Loop buildings west of Halsted. Only the 495-foot apartment tower proposed at 906 W. Randolph (center left) is taller.bKL Architecture

Chicago-based bKL Architecture designed the new tower with a masonry base that steps back from the historic Princi building to the south and features a cut-out at the fifth-floor amenity level. The tower's lobby entrance on Morgan Street is also set back and located beneath stilt-like metal beams and crossbracing.

The tower's more glassy residential floors are clad with two distinct facades and terminate at differing heights to help break up the building's massing, according to architect Angela Spadoni.

"As a fellow resident of the West Loop, I think this site currently is so underutilized on one of the most pedestrian busy corridors between the CTA line and Randolph," said Spadoni. "We really wanted to do something special that responded to the aesthetics of the area and the character of the West Loop."

The building's lobby is set back from Morgan Street beneath structural beams that support the mass of the tower above.bKL Architecture

Locals pedestrians will be pleased to hear the development plans to eliminate all three of the former bank's curb cuts along Morgan and will install new streetscape improvements. Vehicular access will take place off the southern alleyway, which will be widened by positioning the new building back from the property line.

Sterling Bay will require a zoning change from the city for its project at 160 N. Morgan. The development team filed a zoning application in February but didn't indicate when they would go before the city for approvals (it's probably safe to assume it will happen before Chicago's more stringent affordable housing requirements go into effect in October). 

The West Loop site is located within the Near North ARO Pilot Zone so the city's affordable housing requirements are already boosted to 20 percent. Sterling Bay will provide 32 affordable units within the new tower and support the construction of another 32 affordable apartments off-site. The developer will also contribute $2.74 million to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund in exchange for a density bonus.

watermark The former bank building that stands at the site today.Jay Koziarz/Urbanize Chicago

If approvals go ahead as planned, the team aims to break ground sometime later this year. The high-rise will take roughly 24 months to complete, according to Fred Krol of Sterling Bay.

The apartments at 160 N. Morgan Street will be Sterling Bay’s very first residential project in the West Loop—a neighborhood the company transformed with high-profile office developments such as the Google building at 1K Fulton and the McDonald’s global headquarters.