The Balaban to Add 54 New Apartments in Chicago’s Uptown

Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood has brand new apartments headed its way and I can’t wait to see this one come to life. 

The newly named “The Balaban” apartment building is under construction at 4806 N. Magnolia and will add 54 new apartments in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. It’s the first mixed-use multi-unit building to be constructed under the new Chicago Building Code, according to the architecture firm SPACE Architects + Planners.

The city council approved major updates to the Chicago Building Code back in April of 2019. These changes were the first in 70 years and became mandatory in August 2020. Modernization, improved safety, sustainability advancements, and the expansion of more cost-effective construction materials were the primary initiatives for the overhauled new code.

Developer and Design Details

The Balaban, developed by JAB Real Estate, is being constructed on a former surface parking lot on the northwest corner of Magnolia and Lawrence. The lot served the Uptown Theater and other nearby entertainment venues for more than 60 years, and I for one, won’t miss it! 

While the building’s name pays homage to the Balaban & Katz Theater Corporation, which built and operated the historic Uptown Theatre next door, plans for this new construction are decidedly modern.  

Chicago-based SPACE Architects + Planners are the designers of the 5-story structure. Renderings of the building include first-floor retail space topped by four floors of modern apartments. The exterior color palette is two-toned gray, mixing concrete, metal, and tinted windows together for an ultra-urban look. 

I peeked at the floor plans of these new Uptown apartments and see primarily 1-bedroom units, along with ten efficiency studios. There will also be 27 parking spaces, so if you must bring your car, you’re covered. 

The Balaban is in good hands with SPACE Architects + Planners, who have a portfolio of commercial, mixed-use, and residential properties. They also designed The Edison Apartments nearby in Edgewater and the Monroe Aberdeen Apartments in the West Loop.

Great Commuter Options

The Balaban is a transit-oriented development and located near several convenient options for commuting. You’ll be able to walk to the CTA Red Line, which is just a couple blocks east at the intersection of Broadway and Lawrence. Several bus lines also run along those main arteries, making it easy to cruise around Uptown and its surrounding neighborhoods. 

If you’re heading out of downtown Chicago, the Ravenswood Metra train station is located just one mile west of The Balaban. 

Quick access to Lake Shore Drive is yours too and makes the drive downtown a quick 15-minutes. 

Uptown Neighborhood Features

In addition to the Uptown Theater, which is currently undergoing a $75 million renovation, Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood is home to several historic entertainment venues. The Balaban is surrounded by over a century of music history including the Green Mill jazz club and the Aragon Ballroom

There’s also a lot of old Chicago mobster history in Uptown. The Green Mill was once Al Capone’s north side hang-out. He even had his own booth! Be sure to ask the bartender about the secret floor door behind the bar. It opens up to underground tunnels that lead to the vintage bank building across the intersection. Pretty cool, right? 

The West Argyle Street Historic District – also known as Little Saigon – offers an abundance of authentic Vietnamese, Chinese and other Asian shops, culture and restaurants and is just north of the Balabon. My favorite stops are Tai Nam Food Market, Tank Noodle, Sun Wah BBQ, and Ba Le Sandwiches

Uptown is also home to healthcare and education centers, such as Weiss Memorial Hospital and Truman College, making The Balaban apartments a convenient place to live for the local neighborhood workforce.

Have a dog? I’m nearly positive you’ll be able to bring them along when you move into The Balaban, making it the newest dog-friendly apartment building in the Uptown neighborhood. And with Puptown Dog Park and Montrose Dog Beach nearby along the lakefront, you’ll have pup-friendly entertainment right in the ‘hood. 

The neighborhood in and around the Balaban apartments in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood
Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood features historic entertainment venues, diverse culture, and is near lots of outdoor recreation along Lake Michigan.

Nearby Highlights and Conveniences

Neighborhood Employers & Universities

Food and Entertainment

Parks and Greenspace

Grocery and Transit

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