For years, the West Loop has been one of those neighborhoods that’s always on the verge of becoming hot but never quite catches fire.
The past few years, however, have seen a quiet accumulation of infrastructure improvements, commercial and office development, and plans for new residential developments that may finally enable the West Loop to move to the next level of attractiveness.
A dearth of retail has long been perceived as one of the West Loop’s weak points, but there have been some large-scale openings, including a new Target at Jackson and Aberdeen, and a wildly-popular Mariano’s at Halsted and Madison. Shopping and gallery offerings remain limited, but a robust dining scene, highlighted by Girl & the Goat, continues to draw new entrants.
A major expansion of new and renovated office space is underway in the neighborhood. Hines’ 45-story River Point tower will add 900,000 square feet of office space at 444 W Lake. Fifield Companies has proposed a mixed-use tower at 625 W Monroe that may reach a height of 75 stories and encompass up to 1.4 million square feet of space. Fifield also has floated visionary proposal for a park built over the Kennedy Expressway. Sterling Bay is transforming the Fulton Market Cold Storage building into the 550,000 square foot 1K Fulton. A 300,000 square foot industrial building at 400 S Green has been transformed into the corporate headquarters of Hillshire Brands (formerly Sara Lee). Other large and small developments are underway or under consideration.
If all of the proposed residential developments come to pass the West Loop will welcome thousands of additional residents. K2, a 496-unit tower at 365 N Halsted in the neighboring Fulton River District, just opened for residents. Developments in various stages of planning and construction would add nearly 3,000 sale and rental units to the West Loop.
Is the West Loop finally about to take off?