ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Randolph Tower, 188 W Randolph St, Loop

by Joe Zekas on 9/3/13

The 45-story, 313-unit Randolph Tower, 188 W Randolph St, opened for occupancy in the first quarter of 2012 after undergoing a complete renovation. Retail and office space is available on the building’s lower floors. An on-site restaurant / bar is slated to open in the fall of 2013.

The Gothic Revival building, completed in 1929, has terra cotta ornamentation that increases in intensity as your eye travels up the building’s façade. A slender 17-story tower rises above the lower 28 stories of the building. The tower once hosted the Steuben Club, a German cultural and social club which gave the building its original name.

The building has been designated a Chicago landmark despite its being, according to architecture critic Lynn Becker, of “marginal importance.” The building’s history is described in detail in the preliminary submission (PDF) to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

The development team included Village Green / Randolph Tower Development Company as the developer, Hartshorne Plunkard as the architect and Linn-Mathes and Central Building & Preservation as the primary contractors.

The AFL – CIO Housing Investment Trust (PDF) participated in the financing, and 20% of the building’s units are available to low-income tenants.

The apartments

Over 40 separate floor plans of studio, convertible, 1- and 2-bedrooms are available. The “penthouse” units occupy 15 floors of the tower portion of the building.

Starting rents range from $1,520 to $1,595 for studios, $1,500 to $1,690 for convertibles, $1,900 to $2,200 for 1-bedrooms, $2,505 to $2,525 for 2-bedrooms, and $2,515 to $5,750 for 1- and 2-bedroom “penthouse” apartments.

Apartments have laminate floors, up to 12-foot ceiling heights, bathrooms with oversized tubs and showers, walk-in and walk-through closets, and in-unit washers and dryers. A movable island is one of the unusual kitchen features.

The building has a 4-pipe heating and cooling system giving residents more control of apartment temperatures during seasonal changes than the 2-pipe systems found in many rental buildings.

The AFL – CIO Housing Investment Trust (PDF) participated in the financing, and 20% of the building’s units are available to low-income tenants. To qualify for the affordable units, which rent for as little as $675 a month, a renter’s income must be at or below 50% of the Area Median Income. At 9/1/2013 there was a waiting list for the affordable units.

You can check current rents and availabilities at the building’s website.

Furnished short-term rentals in the building are available through Bridgestreet, ExecuStay and VIP Corporate Housing.

Amenities, services, policies

The building’s whimsically-stylish ground-floor lobby sets the tone for the colorful amenities package.

Randolph Tower’s amenities include a fitness center, a business center and conference room, and a private movie theater.

The sprawling “Sky Club” has a number of lounge and game areas, a “board room” and a bar with a full kitchen. The scale of the space and its layout facilitate a variety of large and small informal gatherings.

A very unusual feature is the building’s large, skylit indoor swimming pool with sauna and locker rooms. The rooftop pool is a remnant of the building’s original use as a club facility.

A “Sky Park” terrace with a hot tub is adjacent to the pool and offers views to the west. A separate, smaller terrace opens views to the south.

Randolph Tower has on-site leasing and management staff, and 24/7 door staff. Cats and small dogs are accepted, maximum 2 per apartment and subject to additional fees. The building does not have on-site parking.

Location

Randolph Tower has a convenient location near the north edge of the Loop. Walk Score gives the location a Walker’s Paradise score of 98 and a Rider’s Paradise transit score of 100.

Shopping. Grocery shopping is one of the location’s weak points. The nearest full-service grocery, City Target, is a half-dozen blocks away and the grocery department is on the second floor. Mariano’s is nearly a mile to the east, about the same distance as the nearest Jewel or Dominick’s. The farmers market at Daley Plaza is a seasonal favorite.

A Walgreens Pharmacy is a block west of Randolph Tower, and a CVS Pharmacy is a block south.

Randolph Tower residents have quick access to State Street shops and are only a few minutes from North Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile shops.

Dining, nightlife. There are abundant options in the immediate area, but many cater heavily to office workers and tourists. The thriving River North restaurant, bar and nightlife scene is a few short blocks to the north, across the Chicago River.

Parks, recreation. The Chicago Riverwalk is two short blocks north of Randolph Tower, but proximity to parks and outdoor recreational activities is not one of Randolph Tower’s strengths. Millennium Park and Grant Park begin six blocks to the east, and the Loop is otherwise a park desert.

Cultural attractions. Randolph Tower is near many of Chicago’s top cultural attractions. The Loop’s theatre district begins across the street from the property. The Art Institute, Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony are a few minutes away.

Transportation. Public transportation is excellent. The CTA El stop at Wells and Washington is around the corner from the property and serves 4 different routes, including Orange Line access to Midway Airport. The nearby Pedway enables all-weather access to the Red Line and the Blue Line to O’Hare Airport. CTA bus routes in the area provide citywide connections.

Taxi service is near-instantaneous at the front door. IGO and zipcar car-sharing locations are within a block of the property

I-90/94 and I-290 can generally be reached within a few minutes.

The competition

Randolph Tower’s most direct competitors are nearby rental buildings in the Loop: Oakwood 200 Squared, MDA City Apartments, 215 West Washington and Millennium Park Plaza.

You might also consider condos for rent in Loop and New East Side buildings – they’re occasionally available at sharply lower rents than you’ll find in the rental buildings.

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

Randolph Tower in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • Luxury reaches new heights at Randolph Tower
  • Pre-leasing underway at Randolph Tower
  • Randolph Reboot
  • Work begins on conversion of Randolph Tower
  • Welfare Queen
  • Share your take on Randolph Tower

    If you live at or have visited Randolph Tower, 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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