Sterling Bay Plans 320 New Luxury Apartments In West Loop

Mega developer Sterling Bay has played a leading role in transforming Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. They were the brains behind the beautiful McDonald’s headquarters, as well as Google’s sleek and chic Midwest headquarters. And now, they’re planning an awesome new residential property in this ever-growing downtown neighborhood.

Sterling Bay has proposed plans for a new 33-story luxury apartment building at 160 N. Morgan Street. Located in between Randolph and Lake Street, this location is on the northern side of the West Loop, along the historic Fulton Market district. Set to replace a single-story building that used to be a drive-through bank, it will be a welcome change to this corner of the neighborhood.

The development plans were pitched to the community in May 2021, and some tweaks may be needed before they move forward to the city for approval. The biggest concern raised by nearby residents was about traffic and commercial parking congestion. It’s a fair worry that will need to be addressed before Alderman Burnett gives his full support. One suggested solution was a drive-up, which would help solve issues with delivery vehicles idling in the street during those “quick” drop-offs. 

Meanwhile, the developer is getting super creative, using the current former bank building to host pop-up shops for brands like Gucci and Burrow. During the summer of 2021, a pop-up for Luna Bay Booch Co. is promoting their kombucha beverages in a conceptual co-working space.  

The new building has plans for ground floor retail, so hosting these pop-up shops is a pretty cool way to test different ideas that might appeal to nearby West Loop residents, workers and visitors. 

A Major West Loop Developer Plans Something New

Sterling Bay is one of Chicago’s most prolific developers. The firm’s office is actually located in the West Loop, and that’s where you’ll find most of their completed work. 

However, their impressive portfolio showcases amazing developments throughout the city, including the massive plans for Lincoln Yards. This future community development includes 53-acres of mixed-use buildings along the North Branch of the Chicago River in Bucktown and Lincoln Park

If plans for 160 N. Morgan ultimately get approved, this will be Sterling Bay’s first residential development in the West Loop. 

Award-Winning Chicago Designer

Chicago’s bKL Architecture was tapped to create the design for 160 N. Morgan apartments. And, it’s a great choice. 

In just 10 years, this talented team has created a portfolio of diverse designs for residential, educational and civic projects. Notable completed apartment buildings include Wolf Point West, MILA, Cascade and The Van Buren. And in 2020, bLK received the Firm of the Year Award from The American Institute of Architects. I could barely use a protractor when I was in school, but I think that is pretty impressive! 

While interior details are not mentioned in the proposal, if they are anything like bKL’s previous work, their new apartments at 160 N. Morgan will be marvelous. 

The interior of an apartment at MILA, a high-rise in the Loop
An apartment at MILA, a high-rise in the Loop designed by bKL. I imagine that the proposed 160 N. Morgan apartments will have similar features, including hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and modern luxury finishes. 

Intriguing Plans For 160 N. Morgan Apartments

Renderings for this mixed-use development show masonry ground-level retail, with the above floors decked out in modern glass and metal panels. Rising up 380 feet tall, 160 N. Morgan will be the second-tallest building west of Halsted. First place goes to a 495-foot apartment building that’s under construction at 906 W. Randolph.

Standing out while blending in is a balance that new apartment buildings in West Loop keep in focus. This new building’s brick walls will help it harmonize with the historic industrial architecture of the neighborhood. Metal cladding and glass panels on the upper-floors complement lots of other new structures in the surrounding blocks.

All the Details We Know So Far

The property’s plans include a bicycle storage room and 90 garage parking spaces. Along the alley, a garage entrance and delivery loading zone is noted. Existing traffic along Randolph Street and around this block is often congested though, so these plans might be modified in order to alleviate, and not add to, traffic problems.

The plans show an area for amenities on the 5th floor, including an outdoor terrace and dog run, and indoor space that is not specified. The 32nd floor also shows another undetermined indoor amenity space, plus a roof-top outdoor pool deck. 

Since there is not a lot of green space in the immediate area, it will be extremely helpful to have that on-site dog run. West Loop is filled with pet-friendly apartments and condos now, so it’s almost impossible for new luxury apartments to not include dog-friendly features as a standard feature. 

Plans for the units are primarily a mix of studios and convertible apartments. There is no mention of any larger units, however, it is possible that they may be included in a later presentation to the city. With new affordable housing rules going into effect this October, it is possible that the developer is still calculating the unit sizes.

Commuter-Friendly, Culture-Filled Neighborhood

It’s been a decade since West Loop’s redevelopment came into full force, and now it’s one of the most popular neighborhoods in Chicago.

Just a half a block from the CTA Morgan train station, 160 N. Morgan will be a transit-oriented property. In the post-Covid work environment, quick access to workplaces in the Loop and West Loop will be especially important to future residents. 

The nearby Illinois Medical District will also be an easy ride via the CTA Pink line to Rush University Medical Center and several other hospitals. Drivers can access I-90 expressway within a couple of minutes via Randolph Street.

When residents get hungry, they’ll be just steps to dozens of Chicago’s top restaurants along Randolph Street. The social scene is also booming with craft beer brewers and creative cocktail mixologists found at the many bars throughout the West Loop

There are three large parks in the West Loop for nature lovers, fitness fanatics and dog-owners to enjoy – Union Park, Skinner Park and Mary Bartelme Park. It’s actually pretty amazing how much green space is in the area, considering it was historically an industrial area. 

The neighborhood surrounding 160 N Morgan Street in Chicago's West Loop
A map of the area surrounding 160 N. Morgan Street apartment in Chicago’s West Loop.

Neighborhood Highlights Near These New Apartments

Closest Restaurants, Bars and Coffee Shops

Grocery, Pharmacy and Essentials

Green Space and Parks

  • Union Park
  • Skinner Park and Dog Park
  • Mary Bartelme Park

Close Workplaces

If you’re excited to make Chicago’s West Loop home, our awesome team at HotSpot Rentals is here to help! We pride ourselves in being experts in the best and newest apartments in West Loop and promise to make finding your new rental totally stress-free.

Featured Image by Sterling Bay/bKL Architecture