2 Fulton Market deals pass plan commission’s review

Both projects sailed through the panel and go to the City Council, although one drew debate about its architecture.

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A rendering of the project at 1353 W. Fulton St. looking southwest, with the attached brick building on the lower right.

A rendering of the project at 1353 W. Fulton St. looking southwest, with the attached brick building on the lower right.

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The city’s planning agency Thursday endorsed two projects in Fulton Market backed by developers that have been among the busiest in the booming area west of the Loop.

The Chicago Plan Commission approved a 28-story residential building at 1353 W. Fulton St. whose developer cited a design contribution by Chicago artist Theaster Gates. Some members didn’t like the design.

The commission also approved a 25-story office high-rise at 360 N. Green St.

Both projects had been revised based on market changes and community feedback. The votes send the proposals to the City Council for final action.

The Fulton Street project calls for 305 residences, 20% set aside as affordable units under city ordinance that limits incomes of eligible renters. It’s connected to a three-story building with parking and rooftop amenity space for tenants. A single-story building and parking are now on the site.

The project is an investment of Shapack Partners, which reports it has completed or planned 2.5 million square feet of Fulton Market projects. Its deals include The Hoxton and Soho House hotels.

The Green Street building comes from developer Sterling Bay, which pioneered Fulton Market by building space for McDonald’s and Google and continues to invest in the area. Originally planned as a blockier structure for technology companies, 360 N. Green has been made taller and skinnier by the architecture firm Gensler so its floors appeal to professional services firms.

Sterling Bay representatives told the commission they are in late-stage negotiations to lease a large part of the 495,000-square-foot building to Boston Consulting Group, which would move from 300 N. La Salle St.

The $288 million development would replace a parking lot but would add spaces for 90 cars, according to city records.

While both developments drew praise from commissioners and got unanimous approval, there was debate about the architectural merit of the Fulton Street project. It connects a high-rise featuring dark aluminum to a three-story retail and parking structure with a dark brick façade at Fulton and Ada streets.

The architect, Adam Semel of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, said the change makes the shorter building better fit with the neighborhood. The high-rise includes balconies that seem randomly placed, but are positioned for available views and a mix of unit layouts, he said.

“We’re trying to achieve something that has a bit of poetry to it,” Semel said.

Developer Jeff Shapack said the unusual brick was an idea from Gates. “He has been both a collaborator with us and a friend,” Shapack said.

Plan commission Chairperson Laura Flores, an architect, criticized the use of brick as “too warehouse-like.” But Maurice Cox, the city’s commissioner of planning and development, said the design is unique and reminded him of a modern art museum.

Commissioner Linda Searl, also an architect, said the brick façade should have been incorporated into lower levels of the high-rise.

A rendering of the project proposed for 360 N. Green St., looking southwest.

A rendering of the project proposed for 360 N. Green St., looking southwest.

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