River North, just a few blocks due west of Michigan Avenue, was worlds away from the glossy high-rise glamour of the Magnificent Mile—until the past decade. The warehouses that were first transformed into art galleries have now given way to posh residences, with amenities and services to match.
THE BIG NEWS
Thanks to all those swanky new digs, the US Post Office was going, well, postal trying to handle all the mail making its way to the residents of River North. Their solution: This past July, they reassigned the area bounded by State, Halsted, Chicago, Kinzie, and the Chicago River to 60654— a zip formerly limited to just the Merchandise Mart.
Vince Vaughn, Juanita Jordan, William Petersen, artist Lincoln Schatz, Antoine Walker, and Jerry Azumah.
Park Kingsbury Lofts (678 North Kingsbury Street)
Here’s where to find those rare real-timber lofts— the kind with exposed beams, brick, and ducts, plus high ceilings and gigantic windows. The former home of Ronsley Special Events, the five-story property will soon become 26 residences ranging from $474,990 to $1,575,000. Bud Cataldo and Bill Marovitz are the developers, and FitzGerald Associates Architects is doing the design work. Jameson Real Estate took over in August, revamping design plans and marketing efforts. Call 312-379-0536.
Superior 110 (110 West Superior Street
Currently this is “the most luxurious of the lot,” says Koenig & Strey broker Michael Rosenblum. The draw: quarter- and half-floor residences, floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, highend finishes, and continuous corner views in every unit. Apartments go from $530,000 to $1.65 million, and the half-floor residences come with allowances for GE Smarthome Systems and custom-built closets. It was designed by under-the- radar Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, who did the nearby (but far more prole) Superior at LaSalle (150 West Superior Street) in 2006. Contact Greg Allen Eldridge, 312-506-0274.
THE MONTGOMERY (500 West Superior Street, 312-644-6754)
Montgomery Ward & Co.’s architecturally significant corporate headquarters was transformed into a residential high-rise in 2004, complete with dramatic vistas and high commercial-code ceilings. The building has attracted an inordinate number of noted designers, art dealers, and collectors. Real estate records show that Centrum Properties executive Arthur Slaven paid a very reasonable $3 million for the raw space that now contains his nearly 7,000-square-foot penthouse, including a two-story living area with 30-foot ceilings.
ERIE ON THE PARK (510 West Erie Street, 312-587-9245)
Renowned architect Lucien Lagrange proved himself adept in the Modern milieu with this glassy stalagmite of a skyscraper. Thanks to its offbeat shape achieved using angled steel, the building’s interior spaces are expansive, and many apartments sport whopping decks. One well-known ad man’s pad is all about the 1,500-square-foot deck, which features an outdoor kitchen, dining room, lounging area, and gardens.
Michael Rosenblum, Koenig & Strey GMAC Real Estate, 312-893-8162
Karen Peterson, Coldwell Banker, 312-915-4621
Kingsbury Estates—on the square block bounded by Kingsbury, Superior, Hudson, and Huron— feature spanking-new homes that range from 8,000 to 11,000 square feet and are smack in the center of the city.
Culture River North still boasts the city’s largest concentration of art galleries. With Superior and Franklin as the epicenter, “there are still about 60 galleries in a four-block radius,” says Ginny Berg, Chicago Gallery News publisher.
Shopping Thanks to the Merchandise Mart, this neighborhood has long been known as a design center for contemporary furnishings— think Luminaire (301 West Superior Street), Design Studio (225 West Hubbard Street), Lightology (215 West Chicago Avenue), Orange Skin (233 West Erie Street, Suite 1NW), and Mobili Möbel (549 North Wells Street)—and antiques, including Douglas Rosin Decorative Arts & Antiques (730 North Wells Street) and Thomas Jolly Antiques (124 West Kinzie Street). But some star-quality independent retailers have moved here recently, including Elements (741 North Wells Street), and June Blaker (870 North Orleans Street).
There’s a broad range of popular options here, such as Martini Park (151 West Erie Street), Sushi Samba (504 North Wells Street), and Blue Water Grill (520 North Dearborn Street), but Maxwell’s at the Club, the new restaurant at the East Bank Club (500 North Kingsbury Street), is the latest must-try.
Transportation Michigan Avenue, the Gold Coast, the Loop, even the West Loop and Lincoln Park are walkable from here. Or hop on the Red, Brown, or Purple lines.
(233 West Superior Street, 312-664-6354)
There’s a mom-and-pop quality to this joint, the hot spot for soups and sandwiches during the day (it closes at 4 P.M.). We swear by the juicy Reubens and fish tacos on Fridays.
(331 West Superior Street, 312-951-2849)
Authenticity is the key to this third-generation Italian spot, open since 1952 and known for its hearty Northern Italian fare, retro décor, and folksy atmosphere.
(600 West Chicago Avenue, 312-822-9600)
Social types and suits all head to this swank East-meets- West eatery for the lunch special, a sushi or business menu for just $20.08–complete with beverages.