ChicagoDowntown / Loop

55 West Chestnut apartments, 55 W Chestnut St, River North

by Joe Zekas on 12/11/13

55 West Chestnut is a 29-story apartment tower in the River North area of Chicago’s Near North Side.

55 West Chestnut was built in 1967 as retirement housing for teachers. It was originally named Fewkes Tower after John M. Fewkes, the founding president of the Chicago Teachers Union.

Harry Weese & Associates was the building’s architecture firm.

The apartments

55 West Chestnut has a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom, one-bath apartments.

Floor plans and near real-time availability information are accessible online. As of early December 2013 studio rents started at $1,247, one-bedrooms at $1,375 and two-bedrooms at $2,014.

The apartments are among the smallest in a contemporary building in the area: two-bedrooms encompass 724 square feet, one-bedrooms 578 to 601 square feet, and studios span 424 square feet. Closet space is limited in the larger of the one-bedroom plans. Bedroom sizes can make for tight quarters.

Two-bedroom units have side-by-side bedrooms rather than the more popular split-bedroom plan.

The units do have space-expanding floor-to-ceiling bay windows. Floors are carpeted.

Some units have updated kitchens with dishwashers, new cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

None of the units have balconies or in-unit washer / dryers. Air-conditioning is via window units.

Views. 55 West Chestnut is bordered by mostly low- and mid-rise development, resulting in decent views in all directions from the higher floors.

Amenities, services, policies

55 West Chestnut’s common-area amenities have been updated in recent years.

The building has an outdoor patio with seating areas and grills, a fitness room, a business center and a party room.

Parking is available on-site, both indoor and outdoor.

Management and leasing staff are on-site, and the building has door staff. Cats are welcome; dogs are not.

The location

The building has an excellent Near north side location but lays claim to a location in the middle of the Gold Coast.

55 West Chestnut is three blocks beyond the southern boundary of what YoChicago and the Gold Coast Neighbors Association define as the Gold Coast.

That said, neighborhood boundaries in Chicago are fluid. 55 West Chestnut’s immediate area has become more solidly affluent over the years, and many local businesses have come to boast of being in the Gold Coast.

Loyola University’s Water Tower campus is three blocks from the property and Loyola’s new Quinlan School of Business will be built a block east of the building. Northwestern and Lurie Children’s hospitals are a short walk further east.

Shopping. Residents of 55 West Chestnut enjoy convenient access to grocery shopping.

There’s a locally-owned Potash Markets a block away. Four short blocks southeast is what Whole Foods bills as its “Gold Coast store” despite its River North location.

A number of convenience stores are nearby and Jewel, Walmart Express, Plum Market and a new Target are not far away, as are a number of Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.

The nearest of several nearby Starbucks is a block east at State and Chestnut..


The 900 North Michigan shops, anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile shops, and Water Tower Place are just to the east. Oak Street boutiques are a few blocks to the north.


Dining, nightlife. Cru Kitchen & Bar is two blocks est of 55 West Chestnut, and just beyond Cru is the Goddess and Grocer deli.


Head a few short blocks north on State St and you’re in one of the most vibrant restaurant clusters in Chicago – the so-called Viagra Triangle.


Just past Mariano Park, from whose shape the triangle derives its moniker, is the storied Division Street strip, home to Mothers, the legendary Butch McGuire’s and more than a dozen other establishments.

If you head south from 55 West Chestnut you’ll pass a pleasant strip to the east along Chicago Ave before entering the thriving River North restaurant and nightlife scene.

Parks, recreation. Residents of 55 West Chestnut have limited access to parks and recreational opportunities. The nearest park with facilities for active play is more than a half-mile from the building.


Washington Square Park is a tranquil oasis a short block north of 55 West Chestnut. Connors Park, a compact tree-shaded triangle, is two blocks east.

According to the building’s website, the popular Oak Street Beach “is just a volleyball serve away.” That’s one helluva serve – the beach is about six-tenths of a mile from 55 West Chestnut.

Transportation. Public transportation is excellent.


55 West Chestnut is a few minutes’ walk from the Brown / Purple Line stop at Franklin and Chicago and the Red Line stop at State and Chicago.

The location has fairly quick access to I-90/94 and the city’s expressway grid via the Ontario St / Ohio St on / off ramps.

A Zipcar car-sharing location is nearby. Taxi service is readily available 24/7.

The competition

As you might expect, there are a number of apartments in the immediate area. You’ll find additional tips and options at YoChicago’s Guide to renting on Chicago’s Near North Side and our at-a-glance list of Near North apartments.

Rentals are typically available in a number of nearby condo buildings, sometimes at sharply lower rents than in the managed apartment buildings.

55 West Chestnut in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • Harry Weese Architects to close
  • John Fewkes, Teachers Union founder
  • Share your take on 55 West Chestnut

    If you’ve lived at or visited 55 West Chestnut, and are not a real estate agent, add your thoughts in a comment. Comments are moderated, and commercial messages are not allowed.

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