Eco-friendly Emerald cuts fine figure in West Loop

Emerald

There is an air of excitement at Monroe and Green streets in the West Loop, where Emerald prepares to welcome its first residents this month.

Of the 212 residences housed in the two 12-story glass-and-concrete towers, more than 80 percent are already sold, according to Patrick Hawkins, a member of the Emerald sales team for Property Consultants Realty, the exclusive marketing agent for Emerald.

“We’re definitely riding the green wave,” says Hawkins, who, in the early stage of Emerald’s development, would have been alluding to the eco-friendly lifestyle afforded by finishes like bamboo and Brazilian eucalyptus flooring, low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, and myriad recycled materials.

But as the project has evolved, both the experienced property consultant and potential buyers have become equally attracted by Emerald’s style and design.

“Just watching the creation of the lobby was jaw-dropping,” says Hawkins, who points to the two-story entry with a glass terrazzo floor, furnishings clothed in recycled polyester fabrics, and a lighting system that weds function and art.

The lobby is the brainchild of acclaimed designer John Robert Wiltgen, who says its inspiration came from the piazzas of Rome and Florence, where social intercourse has been the order of the day for centuries. The atrium entrance leads to three satellite suites – the contemporary Green Room with big-screen TV and surround sound, a Board Room, whose fireplace is the centerpiece for meetings and home-office use, and Club Emerald, a state-of-the-art bar offering space for private parties.

Built at a cost of over $4 million, the 8,000 square-foot Emerald lobby is by far the largest and most extravagant of any residential building ever designed by Pappageorge/Haymes, the architects for the project, according to the firm’s senior associate, Steven Rezabek.

“The lobby is just one of the features of the Emerald that made it a pleasure to work on,” says Rezabek. “With the sentiment in the West Loop running against tall buildings, the large site enabled us to go to twin tower rather than a single high-rise, and this affords much more flexibility for both the developer and the architect.”

As an example, Rezabek cites the 40-percent corner-unit ratio, which results in many more of these desirable units than would have been the case with just one tower.

“From the developer’s standpoint,” Rezabek continues, “the option was there to stagger the construction of the buildings, although as it turns out, the popularity of Emerald made that virtually unnecessary.”

Rezabek is right on the money. It’s safe to assume that the joint development team of Senco Development, Harlem Irving Companies and New Frontier Companies is more than pleased with Emerald’s continued popularity. Bill Senne, the managing partner of the team, attributes Emerald’s success to its spectacular views, desirable location, and of course, the stunning lobby.

Richard Shanks, president and creative director of Upshift Creative Group, Emerald’s advertising and brand consultant, emphasizes that Emerald is a natural draw for people who want to be downtown.

“There is a lot of diversity among our buyers,” says Shanks, emphasizing that while “eco-friendly” was once a trend, it is now expected. “Emerald represents a luxury urban lifestyle, so we see a particularly strong interest from the young professionals who work in the Loop area and want to walk home to very classy luxury surroundings.”

Emerald’s one- and two-bedroom homes vary in size from 765 to 1,297 square feet. All have balconies, and gorgeous views abound, due in part to the neighborhood’s low-rise nature, which will probably remain for a very long time.

Prices range from the $280s to the high $520s. Deeded indoor parking for one car is $35,000.

The Emerald sales center is located at 120 S. Halsted St. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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