ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Wolf Point apartments, 326 N Orleans St, River North

by Joe Zekas on 9/10/13

Three new high-rises are planned for the iconic Wolf Point site where the Chicago River branches north and south. More details are available at the development proposal’s website.

The first tower will rise 48 stories to a 493-foot height on the west end of the site and house a maximum of 510 rental apartments. A building permit for caisson drilling was issued late in August. If construction begins this year, as planned, the building will be completed in 2015.

The prime architect for the apartment tower is bKL Architecture. Pelli Clarke Pelli created the master plan for this mixed-use development.

The apartments

Apartment details are not yet publicly available.

Architectural illustrations show a slender tower with floor-to-ceiling windows and layered planes that create additional corner apartments. Many of the units will have recessed balconies.

In a March 2013 interview with Chicago Grid, Chris Kennedy gave a preview of what will set Wolf Point apart in a crowded apartment market:

A lot of these young people are working in entrepreneurial environments. Part of that is they have no cash. They’re getting compensated with equity. But they still want to live in a very nice environment, they just can’t afford it. And part of what’s happening on Wolf Point is that the first building is being designed for that population. It’s designed for people 22 to 35 who can’t afford a lot of [rent]. So they’re small units, economical, but with design premiums. It’s consistent with my experience in the design fields. And we think that resonates with the exact population we want to attract in Chicago.

Views. East- and south-facing units will have spectacular views along the Chicago River.

The eastern views will be blocked when the taller towers are built on the site – on a timetable that isn’t yet determinable.

Amenities, services, policies

The most recent site plan for the project illustrates a lobby-level sundeck with seating areas, a pool and whirlpool. Additional details are not yet available, but Wolf Point is likely to include the amenities and services necessary to be competitive: a fitness center, resident lounges, a business center, on-site leasing and management staff and 24/7 door staff, for openers.

A 200-stall parking garage will be below grade, concealed behind the river walk. The ratio of parking spaces to apartments is well below market averages, which may become an issue for residents with cars.

The location

Architecture critic Lynn Becker quotes Fred Clarke on Wolf Point’s importance:

There is really nothing like this site in the world, certainly not in Chicago. It’s pivotal. It’s central. It’s waiting for its moment in history.

The site’s prominence is undeniable. Its attractiveness as a place to live will depend on the weight people attach to its relative isolation. In the context of its immediate surroundings the residences at Wolf Point will be an island, a point that will attract some and deter others.

Wolf Point will be a compelling location for the growing number of office workers at the adjacent Apparel Mart and Merchandise Mart.

Shopping. Enough changes may occur by the time Wolf Point is ready for occupancy that we’ll defer completion of this section until that time.

Dining, nightlife. River North has an exciting, thriving, diverse dining and nightlife scene. That’s unlikely to change for the worse by the time Wolf Point is completed, given the neighborhood’s increasing residential density.

Parks, recreation. Wolf Point has poor access to public park space, especially space devoted to active recreation.

The development itself will, according to plans, include more than 2 acres of plaza and parkland, and more than 900 feet of new river walk.

Preliminary plans illustrate the new park space as devoted to passive activities rather than active recreation.

Many of Wolf Point’s residents may view the East Bank Club, which is a half-block north, as their optimal recreational outlet.

Transportation. The building is two blocks from the CTA Brown and Purple Line stop at the Merchandise Mart and five blocks from the Orange, Green, Blue and Pink stop at Clark and Lake. It’s nearly three-quarters of a mile from Metra’s Ogilvie Transportation Center.

Orleans St will be the only point of vehicular access to Wolf Point. It’s a one-way street going north, which will complicate access to points south and make cab rides slightly more expensive.

Wolf Point residents will enjoy excellent access to I-90/94 via the Ontario / Ohio St on / off ramps.

The competition

The competitive landscape is likely to change significantly by the time Wolf Point is ready for occupancy. You can follow the status of all of the new downtown apartment projects at YoChicago’s at-a-glance list.

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

Wolf Point in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • $1 billion high-rise project at Wolf Point
  • Chris Kennedy and the new Wolf Point project
  • An interview with Chris Kennedy
  • Condo owners sue to block Wolf Point project
  • Six ways of looking at Wolf Point
  • The transformation of Chicago’s pivot point
  • The problem with Wolf Point and parking
  • Three-tower plan wins city planners
  • Wolf Point at Wikipedia
  • Share your take on Wolf Point

    If you’ve visited Wolf Point, and are not a real estate agent, add your thoughts in a comment. Comments are moderated, and commercial messages are not allowed.

    Share:
    • Facebook
    • Google Buzz
    • Digg
    • LinkedIn
    • StumbleUpon
    • del.icio.us
    • Google Bookmarks
    • Live
    • Posterous
    • Reddit
    • Technorati
    • Tumblr
    • email

    No related posts.

    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    CaptainVideo September 10, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Hopefully by the time the big building in the center is built, the market will support an ultrahigh, and this building will be upsized into one. This site just screams for the tallest building in North America to be put at this location.

    Reply

    CaptainVideo September 10, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    Instead of a little fountain in front of the big building, what they should do is move this building back and put a spectacular John Kennedy Memorial Fountain, larger and more impressive than the Buckingham fountain, at this location.

    Reply

    Joe Zekas September 10, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    CV,

    This is the building that’s going to be at this location and no one is going to make it taller.

    Please try to offer something that’s helpful to apartment hunters rather than engaging in wishful thinking that I doubt has any interest to visitors to this site.

    Curbed is a friendlier venue for architectural criticism.

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous Post:

    Next Post: