Merchandise Mart owner plans residential tower nearby, city council member says

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has told constituents Vornado Realty Trust has a plan to build at the southwest corner of Kinzie and Canal streets.

SHARE Merchandise Mart owner plans residential tower nearby, city council member says
A rendering shows a residential high-rise tower (right) proposed to be built at 527 W. Kinzie St. To its left is another building proposed for 344 N. Canal St.

A rendering shows a residential high-rise tower (right) proposed to be built at 527 W. Kinzie St. To its left is another building proposed for 344 N. Canal St.

Pappageorge Haymes Partners

The owner of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart is proposing to build a residential tower nearby, downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said Friday.

In an email to constituents, Reilly said Vornado Realty Trust plans a 26-story building with 288 units at 527 W. Kinzie St., the southwest corner of Kinzie and Canal streets. The property has been used for surface parking by tenants at the mart.

The developers said in a presentation given to Reilly the building will have 81 parking spaces, the same number as the surface lot.

Reilly told the Sun-Times he believes Vornado wants to start construction in the spring. Vornado could not be reached for comment.

The proposed tower is smaller than current zoning allows, so Reilly noted the development does not require City Council blessing. But he said he has convinced Vornado to revise plans so that loading and unloading occurs within the building. Reilly also said the building will accommodate passenger pickups and drop-offs off the street.

Vornado said in its presentation the changes will improve sightlines for drivers on Canal turning onto Kinzie. The intersection has been a traffic choke point because of development of the surrounding area, including Wolf Point along the Chicago River.

Reilly said the new building will be next to another residential tower that has city approval. It’s a 33-story building Habitat plans at 344 N. Canal St. Habitat has yet to begin construction at that site, formerly home to a Cassidy Tire service center.

Separately, Reilly said a developer planning a residential tower at 640 W. Washington St. has agreed to reduce the building’s height. Crescent Heights will build 38 stories, not the 47 stories the City Council authorized last year, Reilly said. He said construction should start later this year.

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