ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Sky55 apartments, 1255 S Michigan Ave, South Loop

by Joe Zekas on 11/18/13

Sky55 is a 40-story, 411-unit apartment tower in the South Loop. The building also has ground-level retail space, a 319-space parking garage and an 11-story, 91-unit wing for senior housing.

When Sky55 was completed in 2006 it was briefly the tallest building south of Roosevelt Rd. It was also a rare new rental building at a time when new construction in the neighborhood was limited to condominiums. Sky55 was financed with assistance from the City of Chicago and some of the units are set aside as income-restricted affordable housing.

Forest City Enterprises and Fogelson Companies developed Sky55 as part of the ambitious 80-acre Central Station project. The architecture firm for the project was Solomon Cordwell Buenz and McHugh Construction was the general contractor.

The apartments

Sky55 offers 26 different floor plans of one- and two-bedrooms. Several one-bedroom plans have a bath-and-a-half and a separate den area. Two-bedroom apartments have one, one-and-a-half or two baths.

Floor plans and near real-time availability information can be accessed online. As of mid-November 2013 available one-bedrooms rented from $1,654, one-bedroom plus dens from $2,297 and 2-bedroom, 2-baths from $2,477.

All of the apartments have in-unit washer / dryers, and some of the plans have separate laundry rooms. Some of the units have balconies. Living areas have hardwood floors and bedrooms are carpeted.

All-electric kitchens include granite counter tops, and a stainless appliance package with dishwasher and built-in microwave. Some of the kitchens have a window, which is a nice touch.

Unit finishes vary, so you’ll want to see the exact unit you’ll be renting.

Many of the floor plans offer more space than you’ll find in almost all of the newer apartment buildings. Some of the two-bedroom plans have adjacent bedrooms, and some have the split-bedroom layout that’s more popular with roommates and people who office from home.

Short-term furnished apartments are available from Bridgestreet and VIP Corporate Housing.

Views. Large windows expand the views. North-facing units at Sky55 have great views of the park and lakefront.

East-facing units also have good views from higher floors. New development on currently vacant sites may curtail the views in coming years.

Amenities, services, policies

Sky55 is a full-amenity building.

There’s a large outdoor pool and landscaped deck with a hot tub, garden area, grills, tables and a fireplace. The deck is on the north side of the building, limiting its exposure to the sun.

The fitness center, which has both cardio and weight equipment, is open 24 hours.

The building also has a media room, a billiards room / game room, a business center, a party room, a catering kitchen and a coffee bar. The three penthouse levels have access to a separate lounge.

Sky55 has a bike storage room and an option for extra storage.

Sky55 has on-site leasing and management staff and 24/7 door staff. The building has a 319-space garage with a car wash station.

Sky55 is pet-friendly, subject to limits.

The location

Sky55 is a block from the south end of Grant Park.

The location affords residents quick access to the Museum Campus, the Loop, McCormick Place and a number of local universities.

WalkScore gives the location a “Walker’s Paradise” rating of 98 and a “Rider’s Paradise” transit score of 100. Note: The WalkScore page for the building routes you to one of Chicago’s sleazy rental services rather than to the building.

Shopping. Residents at Sky55 have good access to grocery shopping.

For starters, there’s a convenience store in the building.

Trader Joe’s and Jewel-Osco are a short walk from Sky55.

Target and Whole Foods are a bit further west along Roosevelt Rd, and a new Mariano’s recently opened on Clark St. There are full-service pharmacies in the Jewel and Target, and a Walgreens is two short blocks west on Roosevelt Rd.

The South Loop has long had a rap as being under-retailed, but that’s changing as the Shops at Roosevelt Collection rapidly fills its space, with an emphasis on fashion.

There’s a large and growing cluster of big-box shops just west of the river along Roosevelt Rd, and State Street shops and Magnificent Mile shops are a few minutes’ away.

Dining, nightlife.
There are scores of dining and nightlife options within a few blocks’ walk of Sky55, and their number is growing.


The Showplace Icon theaters at Roosevelt Collection is one of the few first-run movie venues in downtown Chicago. The lounge bar gets busy in the evening and has food available.


Long-time local favorites Gioco and Zapatista are across the street from each other on Wabash Ave, just over a block from the building.


Breakfast options are abundant, but you can expect a weekend wait at the nearby Bongo Room, Eleven City Diner and Yolk. Head a block east to the friendly Little Branch Café and avoid the crowds.


Sandwich lovers are a few minutes’ walk – or less – from Jersey Mike’s, Jimmy John’s, Potbelly and Five Guys.


Blues lovers can head a few blocks north to Buddy Guy’s Legends. Sports enthusiasts can grab a donut and wash it down with a brew at Wabash Tap, a neighborhood hangout.

Thus far we haven’t ventured more than two short blocks from Sky55 – and we haven’t exhaustively listed what’s within those two blocks. You’ll find a lot of dining and nightlife options in the immediate neighborhood.

Parks, recreation. Sky55 has Grant Park as its front yard.

Spanning nearly half a square mile, the 319-acre park accommodates a wide range of active recreational pursuits and spots for quiet contemplation.


Millennium Park, at the North end of Grant Park, is one of the most exciting and architecturally interesting public spaces in the country. Residents of Sky55 will pass the Art Institute on the way to Millennium Park.

Northerly Island’s 12th Street Beach is a short bike ride from Sky55.

Transportation. Public transportation from the location is excellent.

The CTA’s Roosevelt Road station has Red, Green and Orange Line stops for easy access to north, south and west side locations and to Midway Airport.

A wide variety of CTA bus routes criss-cross the area, with stops near the building.

Taxi service is near-instantaneous at the front door. Zipcars are available on-site and IGO car-sharing locations are nearby.

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

The competition

Sky55′s most direct competitor is likely to be the Park Michigan apartments, a few doors north at 1212 S Michigan Ave. Renters looking for an option closer to the Loop with private balconies and an indoor pool might consider Astoria Tower, 8 E 9th St.

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 South Loop rental guide and our at-a-glance list of downtown apartments.

Sky55 in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • Rental market forces concessions at South Loop building
  • Inside Sky55
  • Sky55 wins marketing and advertising award
  • Sky55 has units for all budgets
  • Tower to include affordable apartments
  • Share your take on Sky55

    If you’ve lived at or visited Sky55, 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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