ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Columbus Plaza apartments, 233 E Wacker Dr, New East Side

by Joe Zekas on 1/8/14

Columbus Plaza is a 48-story, 533-unit apartment tower in Chicago’s New East Side neighborhood. Occupancy at the property began in 1980.

The Habitat Company was the developer, McHugh Construction was the general contractor and Fujikawa Conterto Lohan & Associates was the architecture firm for the project.

The apartments

Columbus Plaza offers studio, convertible, 1- and 2-bedroom floor plans ranging in size from 587 to 1,450 square feet.

At the beginning of 2014 studios rented from $1,523 a month, convertibles from $1,610, one-bedrooms from $1,542 and two-bedroom / 2-baths from $2,632.

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

Apartments at Columbus Plaza do not have private balconies or in-unit washer / dryers. Individual heating and air-conditioning units can complicate furniture arrangement. The apartments are relatively spacious and do have generous closet space and layouts that readily accommodate a dining table.

Apartment ceiling heights are 8-feet, but floor-to-ceiling windows help make the space feel more expansive. The apartments are carpeted.

Two-bedroom corner floor plans have two walls of windows and the split-bedroom layout popular with roommates and people who work from home. If a stall shower is one of your must-have features, you’ll need to look elsewhere. There are none to be found at Columbus Plaza.

Short-term furnished apartments at Columbus Plaza are available from Habitat Corporate Suites and Manilow Suites.

Views. Columbus Plaza has panoramic views along the Chicago River to the north, and a site that will keep those views uninterrupted. View corridors in other directions are limited by neighboring high-rises.

Amenities, services, policies

Columbus Plaza is a limited-amenity building compared to its newer competitors, but it does have one major amenity they lack – in-building access to the Chicago Pedway. Many Loop and New East Side destinations can be reached via the Pedway without exposure to winter cold, spring rains or summer heat.

Columbus Plaza has a shaded ground-level patio adjacent to the lobby, with seating areas and grills.

The building has a 48th floor fitness room with skyline views.


Columbus Plaza has a business center, a skylit sun room and a party room. There are individual resident storage lockers and a bicycle storage area.

The building sponsors a number of social events for residents and provides residents a rewards program that offers discounts at local businesses.

Columbus Plaza has on-site leasing, management and maintenance staff and 24/7 door staff. Valet garage parking is available.

Cats and dogs are accepted, subject to restrictions.

The location

Columbus Plaza has good proximity to the Loop, South Loop, River North and Streeterville neighborhoods.

The location attracts residents who want to walk to work or to school. The building has direct access to the Chicago Pedway.

Shopping. Residents at Columbus Plaza have reasonably convenient access to shopping.


The Mariano’s Fresh Market at Lakeshore East gets mostly rave reviews on Yelp. There’s a CVS pharmacy around the corner.


The Shops at North Bridge, 50 stores and 20 restaurants anchored by Nordstrom, and State Street shops, anchored by Macy’s, are within a few minutes’ walk of Columbus Plaza.

Dining, nightlife. A lot of the dining and nightlife options in the immediate area, as you’d expect, cater to hotel guests, office workers and tourists.


New East Side restaurants include Giordano’s, Tavern at the Park and a number of venues in the neighboring Fairmont, Hyatt, Swissotel and Radisson Blu hotels.

There are far too many bars and restaurants within walking distance of Columbus Plaza to list.

Cultural attractions. Columbus Plaza is near many of Chicago’s most popular cultural attractions.

The Loop’s theatre district begins a few blocks west of Columbus Plaza.

The Art Institute, Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony are a short walk or cab ride from the building.

Parks, recreation. There’s a six-acre park in the Lakeshore East development, just southeast of Columbus Plaza.


The park, which provides mainly passive recreational opportunities, includes a variety of shaded areas, seating areas, water features, a children’s play area and a dog park.


Millennium Park, one of the city’s main downtown attractions, is a short walk south of Columbus Plaza.

Across Wacker Dr from Columbus Plaza is a stairway to the Riverwalk, which is undergoing an expansion. There are a variety of dining and recreational opportunities along the river, and docks for seasonal tour boats.

Transportation. There’s convenient public transportation near Columbus Plaza.

CTA bus routes along Wacker Dr and Michigan Ave connect to points west, north and south. CTA train routes are less than a 10-minute walk from Columbus Plaza.

Trains from Metra’s Millennium Station, a few short blocks from Columbus Plaza, reach the University of Chicago in under 20 minutes.

Some residents of Columbus Plaza may consider cabs the best form of public transportation, and service is available 24/7.

Zipcar car-sharing locations are nearby.

Columbus Plaza has good proximity to Lake Shore Drive, but inconvenient access to I-90/94 and the city’s expressway grid.

Chicago Water Taxi offers seasonal commuter service between Michigan Avenue and Madison Street, affording Columbus Plaza residents a pleasant, low-cost way to reach the Loop and the Willis Tower.

The competition

Columbus Plaza competes to some extent with all of the New East Side apartment towers: the recently-opened Coast, Aqua, The Tides, The Shoreham and North Harbor Tower.

Rentals are typically available in a number of nearby condo buildings, sometimes at sharply lower rents than in the managed apartment buildings. Higher-floor condos at Aqua are also occasionally available for rent.

You’ll find additional tips and options at YoChicago’s Guide to renting in Chicago’s Loop / New East Side and our at-a-glance list of downtown apartments.

Columbus Plaza in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • Columbus Plaza refinances, sells space to Hyatt
  • Columbus Plaza on the block
  • The underground commute
  • Share your take on Columbus Plaza

    If you’ve lived at or visited Columbus Plaza, 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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