500 North Lake Shore Drive, Streeterville

Construction of the 45-story, 500-unit apartment tower at 500 North Lake Shore Drive began in September of 2011 and occupancy began in May of 2013.

Related Midwest is the developer, in partnership with the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust. Lend Lease is the general contractor, and Solomon Cordwell Buenz the architect.

The apartments

Floor plans and near real-time availability info can be accessed online.

The apartments have 9-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, wide-plank flooring, in-unit washer / dryers and open kitchens with Snaidero cabinetry, stainless-steel appliances and quartz countertops. The units don’t have built-in microwaves, which you’ll find at most of the competition. They do extend the plank flooring throughout while most competitors limit it to living areas and offer carpeted bedrooms.

The lowest-priced convertible plan has a stall shower but no tub, a single closet and a layout that will be challenging to furnish comfortably.

Closet space may be a concern in a number of the floor plans. In a departure from what’s become almost a standard in new apartment construction, none of the units have balconies.

Views. 500 LSD is on a direct east-west axis with Lake Point Tower, which obscures the views of Navy Pier. East- and south-facing units should, however, enjoy a view of the Navy Pier fireworks.

The building’s neighbors to the north and south block some of Chicago’s more dramatic vistas, and developments planned and underway will constrain the views to the south and west, which are currently some of the best 500 LSD has to offer from its higher floors.

Amenities, services, policies

You can see a lengthy description of 500 LSD’s services and amenities at The Chicago Architecture Blog.

The 30,000 square foot amenity package includes club rooms for entertaining and relaxing on the 11th and 45th floors and a fully-outfitted catering kitchen to service the club rooms, outdoor spaces and residences. The residents-only Equinox fitness center includes a stretching and yoga area.

The building has a landscaped roof terrace with an outdoor pool, sundeck, private cabanas, grills and a fire pit.

There’s on-site bike storage and a Zipcar car-sharing location.

The building is seeking LEED Silver certification from the US Green Building Council.

The location

500 North Lake Shore Drive sits at the point at which Lake Shore Drive becomes elevated to span the Chicago River.

Navy Pier and other nearby attractions make the location a major tourist draw, which is either a plus or a minus, depending on your preferences.

Shopping. The nearest full-service grocery, a few blocks north, is Treasure Island, which bills itself as “America’s most European supermarket.”

A Target Express recently opened in October 2015 a block west of the building.

Whole foods recently opened a few blocks west of the building.

A Walgreen’s Pharmacy is a short walk west.

Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile begins a few blocks west of 500 LSD.

Dining, nightlife, entertainment.
Head east to the restaurants at Navy Pier if you’re in a tourist state of mind. Head west and you’ll quickly encounter a restaurant-dense environment, with something for almost every mood and palate.

Show up early or expect a wait for the large portions at Yolk, a popular breakfast spot at the corner of Grand & McClurg.

If you’re a bowling or movie buff you can loft a few over the lanes at Lucky Strike then head downstairs to catch a movie at AMC River East, a long block west of 500 LSD.

Parks, recreation. The building has very convenient access to Navy Pier, Jane Addams Memorial Park, Ohio Street Beach and the Lakefront Trail.

Lake Shore Park, which has a running track, softball fields, tennis courts, a playground and a small field house, is a few short blocks north.

There’s also a 3-acre park with a dog run immediately west of the building.

Transportation. The location is poorly served by public transportation, with the exception of CTA bus routes.

Access to and from Lake Shore Drive, as you’d expect, is superb. Reaching I-90/94 and the rest of the city’s expressway grid can often involve a tedious, time-consuming slog. Expect near-gridlock conditions when there’s a major event in the neighborhood.

Taxi service is readily available, 24/7.

The competition

Rentals are typically available in a number of nearby condo buildings, sometimes at ower rents than in the managed apartment buildings. In most cases, the condo buildings don’t have amenities that are comparable to the apartment buildings.

You’ll find additional options at YoChicago’s comprehensive Streeterville apartment guide.

500 North Lake Shore Drive

Address 500 N Lake Shore Dr
City Chicago
# of Units 500
Pets Cats & dogs OK, subject to limits.
Parking Indoor parking, reserved and unreserved.
Completed 2013
Management Related Midwest
Website 500 Lake Shore Drive

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  • Allen Bujak 5 years

    I don’t think this is a very fair assessment of 500 Lake Shore Drive. A few examples:

    Judging a rental building’s views by construction that hasn’t even started yet is unrealistic. The positioning and orientation of neighboring buildings could still leave excellent views intact – there’s no way of knowing until the buildings are there. If a view gets obscured, it is a rental property and tenants can freely move – it’s not like they’re locked in long term.

    The prices quoted are also higher than the actual starting rents. The two bedroom price actually started almost $1000 less – though I confess I don’t know what’s currently available.

    The closet space remark is also not fair. The number of closets is only one measure – what’s great about 500’s closets is that they are VERY deep. There’s a lot more storage space there than it seems on an on-line floor plan.

    Lastly, I strongly disagree with the notion that built-in microwaves are a plus. My unit at 500 has a microwave and it is not built in – but I really prefer it that way. The kitchen looks much cleaner without a microwave breaking up the REALLY nice finishes. Other apartments I’ve had without a built-in microwave require you sacrifice counter space – but 500 doesn’t. It’s extremely tasteful and uncluttered.

    There is also not much mention of amenities and the high level finishes throughout the building. When comparing other properties there are so many finishes both in the common areas and in the units that are far below 500’s. The counters, bathroom fittings, shower heads, even toilet seats are all high end and have a very custom feel to them. I have seen new houses that are much more poorly finished.

    All-in-all, I expect a much more fair assessment from YoChicago and am very disappointed at this piece. As for why I deserve to comment on this – I am moving in to 500 shortly so I have done a great deal of research of late looking for the right building. Give 500 a chance!

  • Allen,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    The prices quoted were taken directly from 500 LSD’s website. I’m aware that the building is offering incentives, as are all of the new buildings.

    I didn’t express an opinion on built-in microwaves, only noted their absence. I also noted some of the features that 500 LSD has that competitors lack. Is that unfair to those buildings?

    I didn’t say much about the amenities directly because I linked to a very lengthy, very positive piece on the subject.

    As I visit rental buildings I encounter people who’ve been there for quite a while. Of course everyone’s free to move, but there are people who want to stay put for a lengthy term in a rental.

  • Daniel Wisehart 5 years

    I have to agree: the assessment is neither fair nor balanced. You do not have to live every building you visit, but at least be fair in your review.

    “The units don’t have built-in microwaves, which you’ll find at most of the competition.” makes you think this building does not have microwaves at all. There are many ways to say the same thing, but to say it better: “Unlike most of the competition that has built-in microwaves, the developer hid the microwave ovens in the cabinets.”

    Another example; you write: “The lowest-priced convertible plan has a stall shower but no tub, a single closet and a layout that will be challenging to furnish comfortably.” The space in 500 North Lakeshore convertibles is a lot more usable than in other similar properties that have posts in the most inconvenient areas. Such as The Tides where I recently lived.

    Again, you write: “Closet space may be a concern in a number of the floor plans.” Have you looked at the closet space in 500 North Lakeshore? Its California Closets have a lot more usable space than larger closets found elsewhere.

    There is no doubt that this building has a number of unique, carefully chosen details, but these are not weaknesses: they are the building’s strengths. Do not be critical of a building simply because it is different. Take a hard look at why it is different and what thinking went on behind those differences.

  • Daniel,

    Does your comment present a “fair and balanced” take on my review?

    Or do you simply ignore what I said? I commented on a specific plan. You responded with a take on “500 North Lakeshore convertibles.”

    Will no one be concerned about having only a single not very large closet simply because it’s organized? Or is it fair to say, as I did, that “closet space may be a concern …”