Metropolis brings condos to Loop

The migration of new-home buyers to downtown Chicago largely has skirted the Loop proper, filling in such formerly industrial areas as the West Loop, the South Loop and River North. A couple of new projects, however, most notably the Heritage at Millennium Park and the massive Lakeshore East, have been pushing residential development into the business-heavy blocks between Madison and the Chicago River.
Metropolis, as the name implies, will take that trend further with a 169-unit condo conversion of the office building at State and Monroe, in the heart of the Loop. The 21-story highrise by Holabird & Roche originally had an address of 36 S. State. The “North American Building,” as it was known, was completed in 1913, and its terra cotta detailing and strong Chicago School façade have graced State Street ever since.

The building’s design was described in 1923 as “Commercial Gothic.” Experts say the style was inspired by English architecture of the 15th and 16th centuries. A January 1913 article in Brickbuilder described it as an “immense glass showcase, supported by a lace-like framework of slender columns, mullions and spandrels.”

The building’s large windows and views make it an obvious candidate for conversion to residential use, according to Keith Giles, of Frankel & Giles Real Estate, which is a joint venture partner with State Street Development and the WOW Group in Metropolis Partners, LLC, the development company.

“Our plan is to preserve the building’s stately, timeless exterior, while making the interior sleek, modern and convenient for its residents,” Giles said. “It will have all the charm of Chicago’s famed architecture on the outside, and every convenience on the inside.”

Plans for the $50 million adaptive reuse development designed by architects Warman Olsen Warman call for 16 of the 21 floors to be condos. The first two floors will hold retail space fronting State Street, and the third floor will contain offices, including one for Warman Olsen Warman.

“Sneak preview” prices at Metropolis are expected to run from the low $200s to the upper $400s, with an average price of under $300,000, Giles said. The top-floor penthouse will be priced at more than $1 million.

The building will contain 60 one-bedroom units with 656 to 805 square feet and 107 two-bedrooms of 956 to 1,329 square feet. A penthouse with more than 3,000 square feet will have a large private roof deck. Unit features include 10-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, granite counters, designer kitchens with custom cabinets and wiring for high-speed Internet connections. The building will have two new high-speed elevators, a 24-hour doorman, a fitness center, a business and entertainment center, a roof deck, bicycle storage and individual storage lockers.

About 40 of the condos will have balconies, starting on the ninth floor on the building’s north façade. To protect views to the north, the developers purchased development rights for the adjacent low-rise retail buildings owned by Thor Equities, the leasing agent for Metropolis’s retail space.

“About one-third of the units, mostly two-bedroom corner floor plans, will feature views of Lake Michigan through the building’s oversized Chicago-School style windows,” Giles said.

Parking will be available in three below-grade levels, where spots are priced at $38,800.

An on-site sales center with a kitchen and bath vignette model will open in mid-July at the Metropolis, www.metropoliscondominiums.com.

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