Rafael Vinoly Returns To Chicago

Rafael Vinoly Returns To Chicago

At 76 stories, proposed apartment tower would be tallest in South Loop

Miami developer Crescent Heights plans to build the tallest building in the South Loop, a 76-story high-rise with nearly 800 apartments at the south end of Grant Park.

Crescent Heights unveiled its plans last night for the 829-foot skyscraper at the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road. Designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects, which also designed the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in Hyde Park, the 792-unit building would be the first of three that Crescent Heights plans just south of the park.

The developer also plans a 648-unit building and a 100-unit building on Indiana Avenue that would be built later, according to a Crescent Heights spokeswoman. The firm hasn’t decided whether those projects would include apartments or condominiums, she said.

Representatives of the developer presented their proposal for the site at a town hall meeting hosted by Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), whose ward includes the properties. Her support is critical for the project, which would also need the City Council’s approval. Crescent Heights also would need to obtain construction financing for the buildings before breaking ground.

Crescent Heights owns two sites near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road. In 2012, the developer paid $29.5 million for the two-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Michigan—where the tallest building would go—and a one-acre parcel close to 13th Street and Indiana Avenue.


At 829 feet, the biggest tower would rank as the 16th-tallest building in Chicago and the second-largest pure residential building, after an 843-foot, 67-story tower that Related Midwest plans to build in Streeterville, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The high-rise also would eclipse One Museum Park, a 726-foot, 62-story condominium building next door, as the tallest building in the South Loop—and on the entire South Side.

Crescent Heights has become one of the busiest apartment buyers in downtown Chicago, recently paying $126 million for a 298-unit apartment building in the South Loop. It also owns 160 rental condominiums in Walton on the Park, a Gold Coast high-rise. But the South Loop project would be the firm’s biggest here by far.

Crescent Heights is making a big bet on a downtown apartment market that’s on fire but is getting increasingly crowded as more developers launch new towers. After completing nearly 3,000 apartments in 2015, developers will add more than 3,200 in 2016 and possibly 4,500 in 2017. At the same meeting last night, Chicago developer John Murphy introduced his plans for a 48-story, 500-unit apartment tower at 1326 S. Michigan Ave., about a block from the Crescent Heights properties.

In addition to the Booth School, Rafael Vinoly Architects, a New York-based firm founded by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, also has designed the University of Chicago Medicine’s Center for Care & Discovery

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( Crains )