ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Cobbler Square Lofts, 1350 N Wells St, Old Town

by Joe Zekas on 9/24/13

In the mid-80s architect Ken Schroeder transformed 30 ramshackle buildings used as a Dr Scholl’s factory into Cobbler Square, 295 loft apartments and ground-floor retail space in a colorful, visually arresting set of seven structures enclosing landscaped courtyards.

Village Green oversaw a complete renovation of the complex, including upgrading and expansion of the common areas in 2009.

The apartments

The unit mix includes studios, 1- and 2-bedrooms. Two-bedrooms have either 1 ½ or 2 baths, and some of the 1-bedrooms have a bath-and-a-half.

In late September 2013 studios rented from $1,440, 1-bedrooms from $1,700, and 2-bedrooms from $2,335. Floor plans and current rents and availabilities are accessible online.

The apartments have a true loft aesthetic, with large windows, exposed brick and ductwork, timber beams, open space and a minimum of 12-foot ceilings. A few of the units have private outdoor space.

One of the studio plans has a loft sleeping area. A number of the floor plans have bedrooms that are not enclosed by full-height walls and lack windows. Closet space is variable. The lofts do not have in-unit washer / dryers.

Views. The low-rise Cobbler Square is not a “view building.” The best view is from the whirlpool on the building’s rooftop sundeck.

Amenities, services, policies

Residents and guests pass through an enclosed entrance court and enter a dramatic skylit lobby with large artwork that sets the tone of the complex.


Adjacent to the lobby is a spacious resident lounge and game room.

There’s a well-equipped fitness center. Depending on an apartment’s location in the sprawling complex a trek to and from the fitness center may be sufficient exercise for some.

Cobbler Square has several enclosed, pleasantly landscaped courtyard areas with seating areas and fountains.

Additional amenities include a business center, sundeck, laundry room and on-site dry cleaners.

The building has on-site leasing, management and maintenance staff and 24-hour door staff.

Cobbler Square is cat-friendly but does not allow dogs.

The location

Wells Street north of Division St (1200 N) is one of the most attractive and interesting pedestrian-scale venues in Chicago.

Nearly all of the funky vibe that made the strip a tourist mecca in the 60s and 70s has vanished, but a few traces remain.

Neighborhood festivals, highlighted by the wildly popular Wells Street Art Festival and Old Town Art Fair, add to the location’s area-wide appeal.

Walk Score gives Cobbler Square’s location a “Walker’s Paradise” score of 95 and an “Excellent Transit” score of 88. The Walk Score page has many errors and omissions, and both scores would doubtless be higher if more accurate information were available to Walk Score.

Shopping. The closest full-service grocery is Plum Market, a block south of Cobbler Square.

Jewel and Dominick’s are a few blocks in either direction on Division St, and the original Treasure Island is a few blocks north on Wells St. A new Target is nearing completion several blocks west on Division St. Walgreen’s pharmacies are nearby on Division St and Wells St.

Wells Street is home to an eclectic array of boutiques and other retail establishments. Big-box retailing is available at the nearby Clybourn Corridor, and Cobbler Square is within walking distance of Oak Street boutiques and Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile shops.

Dining, nightlife. Wells Street is a destination restaurant row, with a wide and growing variety of eating and drinking establishments and outdoor dining along its broad sidewalks. A new Hash Browns Café is opening soon at Division and Wells.

Zanies Comedy Club and The Second City are both a few minutes north on Wells St.

Just east along Division is another strip of bars and restaurants. Head a block south on State St toward Rush St and the dining and nightlife scene intensifies even further.

Parks, recreation.
Oak Street and North Avenue beaches are a short walk from Cobbler Square.

The best attractions of Chicago’s fabulous Lincoln Park are a few blocks north.

Ball fields and playgrounds are next door at Franklin Fine Arts school and at nearby Seward Park and Walter Payton College Prep.

Transportation. Public transportation is excellent. The Clark & Division Red Line stop is three short blocks from the building for quick connections to the Loop and Wrigley Field.

The CTA Brown and Purple Line stop on Sedgwick is less than half a mile northwest.

North / south CTA bus routes are a block east on LaSalle Blvd and two blocks east on Clark St. East – west routes are equidistant from the property along North Ave and Division St.

Taxi service is readily available, 24/7. Zipcar and I-Go cars are on-site in the garage.

Cross-town access to I-90/94 on Division St can be time-consuming, but southbound travelers may save time by heading for the Ontario St on-ramp. Lake Shore Drive is easily accessible.

The competition

If you want to rent a loft in a rental building with amenities and 24/7 door staff, Cobbler Square is your only option in a north lakefront neighborhood.

If you just want to live in Old Town, 1225 Old Town, a new rental high-rise, is a block south of Cobbler Square. Eugenie Terrace, a few blocks north in Lincoln Park‘s Old Town Triangle, is also a competitor.

You might also consider condos for rent in nearby buildings – they’re occasionally available at sharply lower rents than you’ll find in the rental buildings, in part because most don’t offer comparable amenities packages.

You’ll find additional tips and options at YoChicago’s Old Town Apartment Rental Guide and our at-a-glance list of Near North apartments.

Cobbler Square in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • Fun and flexible lofts in the heart of Old Town
  • Cobbler Square may mend the soul of Old Town
  • Share your take on Cobbler Square

    If you’ve lived at or visited Cobbler Square, 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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