The Reed Apartments Put Southbank Development Back On Track

With Covid delays in the rearview, construction of The Reed is underway at 234 W. Polk Street, nudging the Southbank mega-development back on course. 

Expected to open in 2023, The Reed – a luxury apartment and condo high-rise – will be the second building completed of the five in Southbank’s master plan. Situated on Polk Street, between Wells Street and the Chicago River, The Reed will join neighboring sister property The Cooper apartments in the incredible South Loop neighborhood. Lush green space and downtown views create an urban haven just blocks from the heart of Chicago. 

A rendering of The Reed apartments in Chicago's South Loop
Set on the east edge of the Chicago River, The Reed at Southbank is slated for completion in 2023, and will join The Cooper apartments (left), which opened in 2018. Rendering image: Perkins + Will / Lendlease

Originally, plans called for an even larger mega-development named Riverline, which included eight buildings sketched out along the South Bank of the Chicago River. It was set to run south down Wells Street, from Harrison Street to the Roosevelt Road overpass.  

Ultimately though, it was split into two separate (but still huge!) development projects. The historic River City Condominiums complex acts as an existing buffer between the updated Riverline plans to the south, and Southbank plans to the north.

The plans for the South Loop Southbank development
The Reed (2023) and The Cooper (2018) are part of the Southbank mega-development plans, which include two more future towers, as well as the new Southbank Park and Riverwalk extension. Illustration: Perkins + Will / Lendlease


Lendlease is the developer of the 7-acre Southbank project. They’re a global real estate group with operations in Australia (HQ), Asia, Europe and the Americas. With over 60 years of experience in community development, their areas of expertise are wide-ranging, including healthcare, hospitality, commercial and residential work. 

In 1976, Lendlease established an office in Chicago, and their local portfolio is impressive. They’ve tackled more than 650 projects including the Harold Washington Library Center, Navy Pier reconstruction, Porte apartments in West Loop, the 70-story One Bennett Park residential high-rise in Streeterville, and The Cooper at Southbank.

Perkins + Will designed the entire original mega-development, and plans for the Southbank properties will follow those existing plans. Founded in 1935, recent work by this Chicago-based firm includes the modern transformation of Rush University Campus, Skybridge Condominiums in West Loop, and Contemporaine Condominiums in River North


Southbank is part of the greater South Loop neighborhood as well as the iconic Printers Row district, rooted in the creativity of artisans and printmakers. It’s clear the designers of The Reed were inspired by both the industrial history of the neighborhood and the natural setting along the Chicago River. 

History will be alive at Southbank! As the new adjacent park was constructed along the river, the old stone was uncovered and repurposed. Amazingly, it was actually the foundation of Chicago’s Grand Central Station that existed on the site from 1890 to 1969. 

With all of those rich sources of inspiration, it’s exciting to see this new waterfront community take shape. The green landscaped public park and expanded Riverwalk is wonderful for anyone to enjoy, but a particularly special perk for the residents that will have that as their “backyard.”

The Reed will sit right on the banks of the river, rising 41 stories and 440 feet tall. With its bold vertical lines and dark metal panels it will complement, yet contrast, it’s neighbor The Cooper’s light metal panels and strong horizontal lines. 


Interior design of The Reed will feature industrial chic and modern luxury elements throughout the common spaces and residences. This property will combine both rental apartments and for-sale condominiums, both with exquisite luxury finishes. 

There will be 224 apartments at The Reed, occupying floors 9 through 22. I expect they’ll be a mix of studio, convertible, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom floor plans. With industrial-chic aesthetics, you’ll likely see exposed concrete high ceilings and wide plank hardwood flooring. Modern kitchens with high-end stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, open floor plans, and in-unit washer and dryer should also be standard in each unit. 

If you want to enjoy the views and a little fresh air, rent an apartment with a balcony. The renderings show there will be balconies on select units, and they’ll have expansive views of the skyline, river, and even the lake on higher floors.  

Two well-appointed amenity suites will be available to residents of The Reed. The eighth floor features a 12,000-square-foot outdoor deck with a pool, cabanas, grilling stations, outdoor kitchen, a dining area, and fire pits. 

Indoor amenities include a wet lounge adjacent to the pool deck, a show kitchen, a living lounge room with TVs, a pool table and seating areas that can double as workspaces. There will also be a virtual sports simulation room, salon and massage room, and screening room. The indoor/outdoor fitness center will have dedicated HIIT and yoga spaces, as well as cardio and strength-training equipment.

A rendering of the ground level at The Reed luxury apartments in Chicago's South Loop
The Reed at Southbank will have a front seat to waterfront living along the Chicago River. Rendering image: Perkins + Will / Lendlease


Move to Southbank, and you’ll be one of the lucky neighbors who call Chicago’s South Loop home. 

Chicago’s South Loop is bustling with several schools, the city’s premier park, welcoming neighborhood restaurants, world-class museums and Lake Michigan. With the new Southbank addition, the extended Riverwalk and adjacent park are adding even more elements that make this neighborhood increasingly popular. 

I expect The Reed to be an awesome addition to the many dog-friendly apartments in South Loop. An on-site dog run is practically a guarantee, and the adjacent park will give your pup a spot to get all that energy out! Both dogs and humans alike will love being able to walk to downtown’s sprawling Grant Park, as well as Ping Tom Memorial Park a little further south down the river. 

Commuting to downtown offices or schools is a snap, as many are within walking distance or a short train or bus ride. Literally, every CTA train line is within a short walk at the LaSalle, Harrison or Roosevelt stations, making it easy to take public transport to anywhere in Chicago. 

The Reed will have a parking garage with approximately 300 vehicle spaces and also bicycle storage. Drivers have quick access to Lake Shore Drive via Roosevelt, as well as nearby ramps for I-290, I-90/94, and I-55 expressways.

The neighborhood map around The Reed luxury apartments in Chicago's South Loop
The Reed at Southbank is part of the South Loop and Printers Row. It is also near Chicago’s central downtown Loop, as well as other cool neighborhoods including West Loop, Pilsen, University/Medical District, and Chinatown.


Green Space and Parks Within Walking Distance

  • Southbank Park and Riverwalk
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lakefront Trail
  • Grant Park

Universities Near The Reed

  • Columbia College
  • Roosevelt University
  • Rush University

Attractions to Enjoy by The Reed

  • Museum Campus
  • Soldier Field

Grocery and Drug Stores You Can Walk To

  • Trader Joe’s
  • Jewel-Osco
  • Whole Foods
  • Walgreens 

Public Transport and Interstates Close to The Reed

  • CTA Train Lines: Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, Brown
  • Metra Rock Island Train: LaSalle Street
  • Metra South Shore Train: 11th Street/Museum Campus
  • Metra Ogilvie Transportation Center
  • Amtrak Union Station
  • Divvy Bikes Station: Clark Street @ Ida B. Wells Drive 
  • I-290
  • I-90/94
  • I-55
  • Lake Shore Drive 

Whether you like to live near water, or if something else floats your boat, HotSpot Rentals would love to help you find an apartment to rent in downtown Chicago. Give us a shout today, and let’s talk.

A signature of blog writer Sarah