David Chase likes to stay ahead of the curve. In the mid-1990s, the West Loop was largely a gritty postindustrial district with no major grocery store and few amenities. Chase, president and CEO of The Thrush Companies and himself a West Loop resident, built major residential projects such as Block X (1996) and Block Y (1999). These and other developments helped transform the neighborhood into the growing residential enclave of galleries, boutiques and upscale restaurants that it is today.
Chase argues that 740 Fulton, Thrush’s new 14-story boutique condo building, is having a similar effect in the Fulton Market District, a slice of the West Loop that’s bounded by Lake Street, Carroll Avenue, Aberdeen Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway and known mostly for its meat-packing plants.
“The Fulton Market District still comprises mostly meat-packing facilities,” Chase says. “But now the meat-packing facilities are next to new art galleries and five-star restaurants.”
When the sales center opened for 740 Fulton in May 2005, Chase says, there was little new development in the Fulton Market District. Now a mixture of large condo projects and small-scale developments is coming to the area, alongside the kinds of tony businesses that populate other parts of the West Loop.
Restaurants such as the Asian-influenced Moto, at 945 W. Fulton Market, and the Latin-themed Carnivale, at 702 W. Fulton St., have introduced high-profile dining options. Nightclubs are filtering in too: Lumen, at 839 W. Fulton Market, and Fulton Lounge, at 955 W. Fulton Market, are among the West Loop’s swankiest hangouts.
The new Thrush building, designed by FitzGerald Associates Architects, looks like a suitably hip place to retire after a night of gourmet noshing and club hopping. It’s dominated by floor-to-ceiling windows, which are offset by vertical bands of concrete that extend the length of the exterior. The balconies have glass railings topped by red bars, adding a subtle, unexpected dash of color to the beige and steel-blue tower.
The basement level and first four floors have garage parking, with homes beginning on the fifth story. Most of the building’s 132 condos have one or two bedrooms and range from 715 to 1,395 square feet. Three-bedroom penthouses have 1,669 to 2,242 square feet.
Amenities include business and fitness centers, a dog-run, an Internet cafe and a concierge, who can arrange everything from restaurant and theater reservations to emergency pet-sitting services.
Interior finishes include hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Though 740 Fulton is new construction, its units borrowed some features from the loft conversions that dominated early West Loop development. The condos have exposed ductwork, some partial-height walls, ceiling heights of 11 or 18 feet and floor-to-ceiling windows, which make the most of the West Loop’s famously good views.
“You’re essentially looking straight down 14 stories to the highway,” Chase says. “It’s a cool sensation.”
Because of the highway’s proximity, Thrush took extra care in reducing noise at 740 Fulton according to Chase. The builder employed an acoustical engineer, and used a variety of sound-deadening elements – insulated glass; extensive caulking and acoustical sealing; sound barriers between finished floors and concrete; and vibration-reducing channels in walls.
In early August, more than 90 of the 132 units were sold and occupied, according to Chase. A wide range of buyers, from singles to young couples with children to empty nesters, has been purchasing at 740 Fulton, Chase says.
Prices on remaining units ranged from the $290s to the $590s in early August. Two of the building’s six three-bedroom penthouses were also available, priced in the $900s. One or two garage parking spaces are included in the price, depending on the floor plan.
The condos are available for immediate occupancy, and construction is expected to be completed by mid-September.
At A Glance
Address: 740 W. Fulton St.
Bedrooms: 1 – 3
Baths: 1 – 2.5
Price: $290s – $900s
Sales: 735 W. Fulton St.