The Lofts at River East, 445 E Illinois St, Streeterville

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The Lofts at River East is one of Chicago’s most distinctive structures, and a reminder of the lakefront’s industrial past. The building is what remains of the Pugh Terminal Warehouse (PDF), which was built between 1905 and 1920 and consisted of 18 modules that stretched about a third of a mile along the Ogden Slip toward Lake Michigan. Parts of the Ogden Slip have been filled in and all but seven of the original modules have been demolished.

The 6-story north side of the building, fronting Illinois St, is clad in red face brick. The 7-story south side along Ogden Slip is faced with yellow common brick. If the building were tilted upright, it would be one of the tallest structures in Streeterville.

The building has hosted a variety of uses and been known by a variety of names during its more than 100-year life span. In the early 1990s it was revived as North Pier , a shopping and dining destination, and later as River East, a mix of office and other uses. Plans for conversion of the building to loft condominiums collapsed along with the real estate market in the latter part of the last decade.

The Lofts at River East is transforming this iconic piece of Chicago history into 285 luxury apartments. The developer is an affiliate of Group Fox. First occupancies started in summer 2015.

The apartments

There are 78 different studio to 3-bedroom floor plans at The Lofts at River East. Floor plans and near real-time rent and availability info can be accessed online.

The apartments have elements of the classic loft aesthetic: large windows, high ceilings, wood floors and ceilings, exposed ductwork and exposed heavy timber columns and beams.

Windows on the south side of the building have been enlarged. Many of the south-facing units will have balconies with NanaWall folding glass walls, an uncommon feature in newer Streeterville apartments, overlooking the Ogden Slip.

The kitchens have a raft of touches that distinguish it from what you’ll find in high-rise apartments – starting with its sheer size. Kitchens include stainless steel appliances, grant countertops, gas stoves, soft close cabinets and drawers with under cabinet lighting. All kitchens include islands with electrical outlines and built-in USB ports.

The bathrooms include stylish finishes, wide shower stalls, and large vanities.

Additional apartment features include large in-unit laundry rooms, Solarshade window treatments and sliding barn doors in select bedrooms.

As the only loft rental building in Streeterville, The Lofts at River East will offer a distinct alternative to the contemporary high-rises that dominate the area.

Views. The Lofts at River East is on a direct east-west axis that affords all of the apartments park or water views.

Amenities, services, policies

The amenities package for the building opened in early 2016.

The lobby and a business center with a private conference room were complete as of October 2015.

When warm weather arrives, residents at The Lofts at River East can head for the sprawling roof deck to hang out, grill a steak, watch a movie in the grassy outdoor theater – or watch the steady stream of pedestrians headed past the building to nearby Navy Pier.

Come spring, residents can stroll along the tree-lined Ogden Slip outside the building to the Starbucks in the on-site Target, and pause for an alfresco drink and a bite at Pinstripes before returning to their loft apartment.

In the interim, the slip-level amenities at The Lofts at River East, are an appealing draw.

The rambling slip-side resident lounge has a two-sided fireplace, a bar, and ample seating for small-group gatherings or hosting a party.

Residents navigate a whimsically-decorated hallway to the reach the “entertaining lounge.”

The lounge is spacious enough to accommodate a variety of activities, from quiet study to gathering around the bar and watching sports on a large-screen TV.

Residents who are in the mood for some activity can head for the game room, which has another bar, shuffleboard, a billiards table, a card table and an arcade game.

If game room activities aren’t strenuous enough, residents head for the gym / fitness center.

The fitness center has a wide variety of cardio and strength-training equipment, and the only heavy bags and speed bag in a Chicago rental.

Another fanciful passageway leads to the media room.

The multi-level media room is an ideal gathering spot to watch a sports event or a movie.

There’s a well-equipped bar adjacent to the media room.

The building has no on-site parking, but parking is available through the management company in an adjacent building. There is also parking in a public underground garage across the street and at a number of nearby locations.

The building is pet-friendly and has on-site management, maintenance and leasing staff, and 24/7 door staff.

The location

The Lofts at River East is in the southeast corner of Streeterville, in a striking location on the Ogden Slip. It’s the only building in the neighborhood with direct waterfront access.

The property has a long, tree-shaded terrace fronting the Ogden Slip on the south, and a 3-acre park immediately to the north.

Navy Pier and other nearby attractions make the location a major tourist draw, which is either a plus or a minus, depending on your preferences.

Shopping. Residents will have excellent access to grocery shopping.

Target Express recently opened on-site in October 2015. Whole Foods opened early 2015, two blocks from the building. Treasure Island, which bills itself as “America’s most European supermarket,” is a few blocks northeast.

A Walgreens Pharmacy is a block west of the building.

Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile shops begin a few blocks west of the building.

Dining, nightlife, entertainment. Streeterville isn’t known as a dining or nightlife destination, but there’s a surprisingly rich array of options in the neighborhood, and River North restaurants and bars are a short walk to the west.

Yolk and D4 are popular venues a short block north of The Lofts at River East.

Lizzie McNeill’s Irish Pub and Chicago Burger are along the river, just south of the building. Head east to the restaurants at Navy Pier if you’re in a tourist state of mind. Head west and you’ll quickly encounter a restaurant-dense environment, with something for almost every mood and palate.

Pinstripes “bowling, bocce and bistro” has leased space in the building for 14 bowling lanes, 6 bocce courts and a restaurant.

Lucky Strike bowling and the AMC River East theaters are a block west of The Lofts at River East.

Parks, recreation. Residents at The Lofts at River East has very convenient access to a variety of parks and recreational opportunities.

Navy Pier, Jane Addams Memorial Park, Ohio Street Beach, Millennium Park and, the 18-mile Lakefront Trail are all nearby.

There’s a 3-acre park with a dog run and fountains across the street from the building. Chicago Line cruises depart from the dock outside the building on the Ogden Slip.

River Esplanade Park, site of Centennial Fountain, and the water cannon, is two short blocks south of the building.

Lake Shore Park, which has a running track, softball fields, tennis courts, a playground and a small field house, is a half-mile north.

Transportation. The location is served by a number of east – west CTA bus routes, which provide frequent service to the area.

Access to and from Lake Shore Drive, as you’d expect, is superb. Crosstown access to I-90/94 northbound can often involve a tedious, time-consuming slog with near-gridlock conditions when there’s a major event in the neighborhood. Lake Shore Drive provides good access to I-55 and nearby Lower Wacker Drive is a relatively rapid route to I-290 and southbound I-90/94.

Zipcar car-sharing locations are within a block of the building. DIVVY bikes are just outside the building and taxi service is readily available, 24/7.

The competition

You’ll find additional options at YoChicago’s comprehensive Streeterville apartment guide.

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

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The Lofts at River East

Address 445 E Illinois St
City Chicago 60611
# of Units 285
Parking No on-site parking
Pets Pet-friendly
Year completed 2015
Management Group Fox
Website Lofts at River East
Apartments Rent & availability info

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