ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Chestnut Place apartments, 850 N State St, Near north side

by Joe Zekas on 11/8/13

Chestnut Place is a 280-unit, 30-story apartment tower on Chicago’s Near North Side.

Chestnut Place was completed in 1982. The building has a very distinctive look. Two stories of darker brick define its base, and shades of lighter-colored brick alternate on the upper floors along with alternating window placements. The serrated façade results in all of the building’s units being, in effect, corner units.

Eugene Callahan was the developer and Weese, Seegers, Hickey, Weese (which became Weese Langley Weese) was the architecture firm.

The apartments

Chestnut Place has a mix of convertible, one- and two-bedroom, bath-and-a-half apartments.

Floor plans are accessible online, but availability information isn’t. Advertised rents in early November 2013 started at $1,300 for convertibles, $1,395 for one-bedrooms and $2,050 for two-bedrooms.

Updated kitchens are all-electric and include dishwashers. Kitchens in the convertible units have very limited cabinet and counter space.

Closet space compares favorably with what’s available in the newer buildings.

Furniture layout is likely to prove awkward in a number of the floor plans. Two-bedroom units have side-by-side bedrooms rather than the more popular split-bedroom plan. The bath in one of the one-bedroom plans is only accessible via the bedroom.

None of the units have balconies or in-unit washer / dryers. Air-conditioning is via through-the-wall units which eat into floor space and affect furniture placement.

Views. The building currently has good skyline views to the south from almost all of the units, and to the east from east-facing units. The east views will take a hit from the new 35-story apartment tower under construction at 845 N State St.

Amenities, services, policies

One of the building’s most striking features is the trompe l’oeil murals, designed by Richard Haas, in its lobby.

Chestnut Place bills itself as a “full amenity building,” but it’s not. The amenities package is skimpy compared to the building’s newer competitors and some of its contemporaries. Rents are, as a result, lower than in the newer buildings.

The building has a small outdoor patio with grills, a fitness room, and guest suites for visitors.

Management and maintenance staff are on-site, and the building has 24/7 door staff. Cats are welcome, dogs are not.

The location

The building has an excellent Near north side location.

The Gold Coast is a predominantly residential neighborhood characterized by tree-lined streets and large vintage homes. Stand outside Chestnut Place and you’ll see little that resembles the Gold Coast, a neighborhood the building claims to be in but isn’t.

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

All that said, neighborhood boundaries in Chicago are fluid. Chestnut Place’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 two blocks from the property and Loyola’s new Quinlan School of Business will be built almost across the street from the building. Northwestern and Lurie Children’s hospitals are a short walk further east.

Walk Score gives the location a “Walker’s Paradise” rating of 98 and a “Rider’s Paradise” transit score of 98.

Shopping. Residents of Chestnut Place enjoy convenient access to grocery shopping.

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

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

There are five Starbucks within about a two-minute walk of Chestnut Place, two of which are just steps from the building.

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 just around the corner from Chestnut Place, and just beyond Cru is the Goddess and Grocer deli.

Turn right past the Goddess and you’ll see Connors Park, which hosts a new Argo Tea and just beyond Argo is McCormick & Schmick’s on Chestnut.

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 Chestnut Place you’ll pass a pleasant strip along Chicago Ave (and a not always pleasant McDonald’s) before entering the thriving River North restaurant and nightlife scene.

Parks, recreation. Residents of Chestnut Place have good access to parks and recreational opportunities.

Washington Square Park is a tranquil oasis a short block west of Chestnut Place.

Lake Shore Park, which has a running track, softball fields, tennis courts, a playground and a small field house, is a few blocks east of the building.

The popular Oak Street Beach is within walking distance.

Transportation. Public transportation is excellent. The CTA Red Line stop at Chicago Ave is just over a block south of Chestnut Place. A variety of CTA bus routes traverse State St, LaSalle St, Michigan Ave and Chicago Ave, steps from the property.

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.

Zipcar and I-Go cars are nearby. Taxi service is 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.

Chestnut Place in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • Altruistic developer is no oxymoron
  • Share your take on Chestnut Place

    If you’ve lived at or visited Chestnut Place, 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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