Solar Junkyard wins approval for 33-story West Loop apartment tower

Solar Junkyard can build their 33-story, 204-unit apartment tower in the West Loop/Fulton Market area. So says the Chicago Plan Commission, which approved the Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture-designed proposal during Thursday’s meeting. What’s significant about this is that Solar Junkyard might be the best name ever used by a local development firm, which in this case is Newcastle Limited. You know that name form Gild at State and Division. I mean yes, it’s also significant that we get to bulldoze another parking lot while adding another cool tower to the West Loop. But I love Solar Junkyard.

I took a couple photos of the proposed site at 210 North Morgan last week, where (for now) a single-story Maria Pinto store stands next to a surface parking lot. Since this blog is about photos, I needed to be sure I had a photo or two of my own to post, along with a couple of Hartshorne Plunkard’s renderings.. But really, this particular post is about the name “Solar Junkyard.” I wonder if there’s swag I could get. More importantly, where did the name come from?

Rendering of Solar Junkyard’s 210 North Morgan from Hartshorne Plunkard Architects
Rendering of Solar Junkyard’s 210 North Morgan from Hartshorne Plunkard Architects

Carroll Avenue demolitions continue in Fulton Market, with more on the horizon

As demolition by Heneghan Wrecking at ADM Milling Company and 1200 West Carroll continue, comes news that Carroll Avenue could see a lot more tearing down and redeveloping in the very near future.

Brick by brick, the ADM office building at 1300 West Carroll is being taken apart.

And the ADM silos at the west end of the 1300 block are being chipped away as well.

The former Midtown Transfer buildings in the 1200 block are all but gone.

The Happy Tails & Trails building at 1240 is the only building remaining on the north side of the 1200 block. For now.

Crain’s Chicago and Urbanize Chicago both reported this week about plans to redevelop both sides of West Carroll’s eastern 1100 block. We know Trammell Crow from their work just north across the Metra tracks at Fulton Labs (which only has one level of curtain wall to go, btw.)

315 N May
315 N May. It wouldn’t take much to improve this site.
315 N May

On the south side of the 1100 block, 315 North May fronts May Street, Carroll Ave, and Aberdeen Street.

On the north side of the 1100 block is a Ryder truck-rental lot.

The Ryder lot at 1100 W Carroll. Even easier to improve this site.
The Ryder “building” at 1112 West Carroll. Fulton Labs is in the background.

Stay tuned. The ever-changing Fulton Market District is in for even bigger changes.

Enjoying the photos? Metra and CTA rides, Zipcars, Divvy Bikes, camera lenses, and comfortable walking shoes are adding up. You can help offset expenses by making a greatly-appreciated donation to Building Up Chicago.

Get ready for Embry in the West Loop

This lot in the first block of North May Street could soon be replaced by Embry. That building is already demolished. (2016 photo)

Around the corner from their Hayden West Loop condo building, Sulo Development is looking to begin the next iteration for the same West Loop block.

Embry will be a 58-unit condominium development, about 16 stories tall, designed by Lamar Johnson Collaborative. You can use this link to see the Linkedin introduction they posted.

Not many details yet, but renderings are available on its website, and it’s replacing a really ugly lot, so yay on all fronts so far. Plus, the website attributes James McHugh Construction as the general contractor, and we *really* need to see them with a tower crane in the air again.

Video screengrab showing the Embry model.

The Rivere is a 30-story #firescraper coming to River North. Soon, we hope.

The Rivere will replace the CFD firehouse at 450 North Dearborn.

That’s right, I hashtagged #firescraper. I want that to become a thing.

This post was started back in February 2020. We really want this one to get started. How many buildings can be referred to as mixed-use because they’ll contain office space, retail space, parking, and a freakin’ firehouse!?

The Rivere will be 30 stories with 30,000 square feet of ground-level retail space and a firehouse. Developed by Friedman Properties. Designed by Goettsch Partners. Firehouse designed by DLR Group.

When the firehouse is demolished, as with all demolitions, water will be sprayed on the crumbling structure to limit dust. Who’s better at spraying water than the Chicago Fire Department? A match made in heaven, I tell ya.

A couple more photos of the firehouse for you, plus renderings of The Rivere from Goettsch Partners:

The Pickard Chilton Boathouse we didn’t get

Pickard Chilton Boathouse

Rendering from Pickard Chilton of a proposed boathouse at River Point.

An innocent Wednesday-morning tweet led me down a rabbit hole, and I eventually climbed out through the website of Pickard Chilton, the New Haven, Connecticut-based architecture firm known in Chicago for designing River Point and 300 North LaSalle, plus one of my out-of-town favorites, the Northwestern Mutual Tower in Milwaukee.

One item on the Pickard Chilton projects page in particular caught my attention; The Boathouse. A proposed development for Hines, The Boathouse was designed to go where River Point Plaza stands now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all unhappy with either River Point or its plaza, but this boathouse would have been an awesome addition to the Chicago River. Maybe another location? It could look marvelous down on the South Branch too.

All of the following images of The Boathouse are from Pickard Chilton.

River Point Plaza

River Point Plaza, where The Boathouse would have been built. (B.U.C. image)

Reilly gives Dana Hotel the business, while blocking business expansion

Dana Hotel

Rendering of the proposed Erie Street Hotel from 42nd Ward office.

Dana Hotel

What Alderman Reilly’s email did to the proposed Erie Street Hotel. Basically.

It’s not often a building gets torn down before it’s even approved.

It case you missed the news (Crain’s nails it here) 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly crushed the Dana Hotel’s dream of expanding its current operation Friday afternoon in an email that left no doubt as to where the alderman stands on the proposal.

In laying the smackdown on the “Erie Street Hotel” and the buildings along Erie Street it would have demolished in the process, Reilly instead demolished the hotel itself, stating that feedback from surrounding neighbors paints the Dana as a bad neighbor, creating traffic problems, noise problems, idling-truck-pollution problems, you name it.

But there’s a sliver of hope.

(1) Spend the next 12 months working to improve operations: (a) acknowledge (rather than deny) & address chronic quality-of-life complaints about the Dana Hotel; (b) improve neighbor relations with permanent removal of nightclub/dance operations; and (c) better manage curbside loading/double parking/traffic flow issues stemming from Valet, Taxicab, UBER, Party Buses and Trolley conflicts.
(2) Forgo a Planned Development and determine what can be developed under existing development entitlements and zoning limitations that apply to a DX-5.
Yep. If the Dana Hotel figures out a way to be good neighbors, and can work out a plan to development without changes to current zoning, the alderman just might reconsider the expansion come 2018.
You can view the email in its entirety here