ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Grand Plaza apartments, 540 N State St, River North

by Joe Zekas on 10/7/13

Grand Plaza, 540 N State St, is a 56-story, 481-unit apartment tower in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

Grand Plaza is the east tower of an original two-tower full-block development, completed in 2003, that also includes more than 100,000 square feet of retail space and a 1,000-car parking garage. The 37-story, 283-unit west tower was converted to condominiums and shares the amenities level with Grand Plaza.

Magellan Development and U.S. Equities developed the property. OWP/P and Loewenberg + Associates were the architects.

The apartments

Grand Plaza’s 481 apartments include 30 different studio, convertible, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom floor plans. Early in October 2013 studios started at $1,792, convertibles at $2,003, one-bedrooms at $2,242, 2-bedroom, 1-baths at $3,055, and 2-bedroom, 2-baths at $3,071. Three bedrooms were priced from $4,734, but none were available.

Floor plans and a near real-time availability check are accessible online.

The building’s configuration results in fairly efficient floor plans, a number of which have angled walls that avoid the living-in-a-shoebox effect. The units have open floor plans, with kitchen islands and in-unit washer / dryers. Appliances are stainless steel and include built-in microwaves, gas ranges, dishwashers and refrigerators with ice-makers.

All of the floor plans include balconies that are larger than you’ll find in most high-rises. The apartments themselves are relatively spacious. Units typically include walk-in closets but do not include hardwood floors.

Short-term furnished rentals in the building are available from Bridgestreet, ExecuStay, Habitat Corporate Suites, Manilow Suites and VIP Corporate Housing.

Views. The building’s large, relatively open site, provides good skyline views from many of the apartments.

Current zoning restrictions in River North should ensure the preservation of the building’s views for some time.

Amenities, services, policies

Grand Plaza has an extensive amenities package on its sprawling 9th floor decks.

A large landscaped area on the north side of the building has putting greens, a running track and a variety of seating areas.

The pool deck, on the southwest side of the building, receives sun throughout the day.

There are shaded areas, tables and stainless steel grills in an area near the pool.

A large fitness center is adjacent to a skylit basketball court that has higher ceilings than are found in most high-rise b-ball facilities.

For year-round swimming there’s a resistance pool and an adjacent whirlpool.

A café is adjacent to a library area, for quiet time or business meetings. A party room, billed as Club 9, with a variety of games and big-screen TVs, is available for residents to gather or host events.

There are 1,000 parking spaces in the attached garage.

Anyone setting up an apartment for the first time in Chicago will appreciate the fact that Bed Bath & Beyond is in the building.

Grand Plaza has on-site management, maintenance and leasing staff. The building is pet-friendly, subject to limits.

The location

Grand Plaza has a genuine walk-to-everything location. The scene directly outside the building is vibrant and alive with pedestrian activity.

The east central River North location affords residents good proximity to Streeterville and to the Loop.

Walk Score gives the location a “Walker’s Paradise” rating of 95 and a “Rider’s Paradise” transit score of 100. The Walk Score is probably understated – other properties with fewer nearby conveniences inexplicably rate higher scores.

Shopping. Grocery shopping doesn’t get any more convenient. There is a Jewel supermarket in the building that has been recently updated but has received mixed reviews at Yelp.

Whole Foods’ misnamed “Gold Coast store” is a few short blocks north in a River North location.

A number of convenience stores are nearby, as are a number of Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.


The Shops at North Bridge, 50 stores and 20 restaurants anchored by Nordstrom, are just east of Grand Plaza. Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile shops are a short walk away.

Oak Street boutiques are half a mile north of Grand Plaza. Macy’s and other State Street shops are a half-mile south.

The River North Gallery District has suffered along with the economy in recent years but remains a thriving art scene. Home furniture and design shops are abundant in the neighborhood.

Dining, nightlife. What can you say about a restaurant and nightlife scene that numbers well over 100 venues within a 5-minute walk? River North has a surfeit of dining and drinking options and Grand Plaza’s location is near the epicenter of it all.

Redeye’s River North Guide is a good introduction to what’s available, from rooftop bars to celebrity-chef restaurants to subterranean lounges.


A tourist-oriented restaurant cluster, with Rainforest Café, Portillo’s, Hard Rock Café, Rock N Roll McDonald’s and more, is just west of Grand Plaza.

Grand Plaza is also within walking distance of the dense restaurant and nightlife cluster that some call the Viagra Triangle, an area that derives its name from the shape of Mariano Park.

Parks, recreation. Grand Plaza comes up short on convenient access to public park space.

The expanding Chicago Riverwalk is four short blocks south of the property. It’s a fun scene with water taxis and a wide variety of dining options.

Transportation. Access to public transportation is outstanding. The CTA Red Line stop at Grand Ave is just outside the building.

CTA bus routes along State St and Grand Ave are steps from the property, and other bus lines are within two blocks.

The location has relatively 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 car sharing locations are nearby. Taxi service is continually available 24/7.

The competition

Grand Plaza’s most direct competitors are One Superior Place, the new AMLI River North and, to a lesser extent, The Bernardin and The Chicagoan.

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

You’ll find additional tips and options at YoChicago’s Guide to renting in River North and our at-a-glance list of Near North apartments.

Grand Plaza in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • Grand Plaza developers put east tower up for sale
  • West Tower sale completed at Grand Plaza
  • Part of Grand Plaza going condo
  • Tower to go condo in River North deal
  • Share your take on Grand Plaza

    If you’ve lived at or visited Grand 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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    April Halaby May 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    We have rented many units in this building over many years, and we are disappointed with the lack of integrity and lack of professionalism for this building.

    Here are just a few of issues we have experienced: management office constantly loses maintenance requests, loud partying next to apartments, a prayer room with 30-40 people using it at all hours of night next to one of our apartments, water damage from a sprinkler break that required six weeks of relocation in two of our apartments while they replaced walls, ceilings and floors for which Grand Plaza refuses to pay for the relocation expenses, even though the units were uninhabitable during that time, a flood in the garage, hallways not vacuumed so very dirty all the time, hallways not painted for years so full of dings, once we rented the guest suite and paid for it – then they told us a VP was coming so they kicked us out of it and didn’t arrange any alternative accommodation for us even though it was two days prior to our guests arrival and hotels were booked up, we have had constant complaints that the garbage overflows in to the hallways because they don’t take it out on a regular basis.

    We have had two tenants move out due to excessive noise in the past two weeks. It is really a shame that the building management treats residents with complete dis-regard.

    Do not cause yourself the headache of dealing with issues from the building. You want to rent a building that is able to effectively take care of maintenance and keep the common areas clean. And when there is an issue, it should be cared for appropriately, with professionalism and integrity, rather than a negative attitude.

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