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The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally the J.P. Smith Shoe Company factory, and was built in two phases in 1897 and 1913. The building is believed to be among the earliest in Chicago to have a steel-frame skeleton. The steel construction enabled the oversized windows that give River West Lofts its distinctive look.
River West Lofts was converted to apartments in 1988, and has recently undergone a major renovation. Jack Berger was both the architect and developer. Linn-Mathes was the general contractor.
River West Lofts has 28 different studio, convertible, 1- and 2-bedroom apartment layouts.
Floor plans and near real-time availability information are accessible online.
The apartments have a true loft aesthetic with 12- to 18-foot high ceilings, large windows, exposed brick and spiral ductwork and timber ceilings. The apartments are carpeted. Most of the units have fireplaces and some have private outdoor space.
Kitchens have upgraded appliance packages with dishwashers, microwaves, and refrigerators with ice makers.
Two-bedroom apartments have a single bath and smaller second bedrooms that are not completely private.
Views. A number of the units have great skyline views.
River West Lofts is taller than buildings immediately to its south, east and west, providing good views from upper floors.
Amenities, services, policies
River West Lofts has limited common area amenities, as you’d expect from a loft building.
The building has a 24-hour fitness room and a penthouse-level party room with a wet bar and woodburning fireplace.
There’s a rooftop sundeck with gas grills and panoramic views of the city and skyline.
River West Lofts accepts cats, but not dogs.
River West is a predominantly residential neighborhood south of Chicago Ave, and River West Lofts is in a quiet, pedestrian-friendly pocket with good access to public transit and nearby restaurants and nightlife.
Shopping. Grocery shopping from River West Lofts is relatively inconvenient.
The nearest full-service grocery stores are a Jewel-Osco nearly three-quarters of a mile southeast of River West Lofts, and the new Target nearly a mile northeast on Division St.
A CVS Pharmacy is conveniently located on Chicago Ave, several short blocks from River West Lofts. Retail shopping is virtually non-existent near the building. Clybourn Corridor and Michigan Avenue shops can be reached fairly quickly by buses along Halsted St and Chicago Ave, respectively.
Dining, nightlife. There’s a good selection of highly-rated restaurants with a distinctive character within a few blocks’ walk of River West Lofts.
DeLux, just around the corner from River West Lofts, serves up “chef driven upscale bar food” for lunch, dinner and weekend brunches.
A few short blocks southeast of River West Lofts there’s a fun cluster of bars and restaurants near the intersection of Grand Ave and Halsted St, including Duran, Iguana, Emmit’s, Richard’s Bar, La Scarola and Piccolo Sogno. A major development planned for the intersection is likely to result in additional dining and drinking options.
Parks, recreation. River West Lofts has poor access to public parks and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Eckhardt Park, the nearest public park of any size, is more than half a mile northwest of River West Lofts.
Transportation. River West Lofts has good access to public transportation.
The Blue Line provides direct access to the Loop, O’Hare Airport and west-suburban Oak Park and Forest Park.
River West Lofts has quick access onto I-90/94 for north and westbound travelers, but far less convenient access south and eastbound. Expressway access to River West Lofts is also inconvenient.
Bike lanes along Milwaukee Ave and Kinzie St provide quick access to River North, the Loop, Wicker Park and Bucktown.
Zipcar rentals are available at a number of nearby locations. Taxi service is sporadic.
Rentals are typically available in a number of nearby condo buildings, sometimes at lower rents than in the managed apartment buildings.
You’ll find additional options at YoChicago’s comprehensive Fulton River District / River West apartment guide.
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