Here are Chicago’s 5 biggest projects filed in 2019

Related Midwest topped the list for the second year in a row, while Sterling Bay and Ryan Companies both proposed big Fulton Market projects

The Chicago Spire and Sterling Bay office projects
The Chicago Spire and Sterling Bay office projects

Related Midwest started off 2019 with a bang. In January, the developer officially filed plans for its two-tower megaproject at the failed Chicago Spire site on Lakeshore Drive. It proved to be the biggest filing in the city this year by square footage, as calculated by The Real Deal. Related also took the title in 2018, with its proposed 13 million-square-foot “The 78” megadevelopment.

But Related’s plans for the Lakeshore Drive construction are also among the most controversial in the city. After pushback from Alderman Brendan Reilly, Related is in the process of revamping its proposal. The developer also has the third biggest project filed this year, in the West Loop, which involves an Equinox-branded hotel and 18-story office building.

Also making TRD’s five biggest projects filed in 2019 are two in the hot Fulton Market neighborhood. Sterling Bay has one and Ryan Companies has the other.

The duo of Hunt Companies & Imagine Group took the No. 2 spot on the list with their redevelopment plan for part of the former Cabrini-Green public housing complex. The design to build up to 1.4 million square feet of residential construction came in just below Related’s 1.6 million square feet, but the Hunt-Imagine project hasn’t been nearly as acrimonious.

TRD compiled this list using developments that sought zoning reclassifications in 2019. Only ground-up new construction projects were considered. The projects were then ranked by the proposed square footage included in their rezoning requests.

Related Midwest | 400 North Lake Shore Drive | 1.6M sf

Related filed its two-tower skyscraper proposal at the failed Chicago Spire project in January 2019, but is now revamping that design after pushback from Alderman Brendan Reilly. Related’s filing had called for one tower to rise 1,100 feet and the other 850 feet.The development would have included a 175-room hotel and a 90-foot podium the two towers would share. Reilly told the firm it had to lower the building’s podium and remove the hotel plan for him to consider approving the project. Related had intended to break ground in May 2020.

Hunt Companies & Imagine Group | 1409-1471 N. Clybourn Ave. | 1.4M sf

The developers filed plans in March for this 482-unit mixed-income residential complex in Near North Side, on land owned by the Chicago Housing Authority. The development would include a 21-story residential building, another eight-story building and two clusters of townhomes built on land that had been the Near North Career Metropolitan High School. Plans also include 36,000 square feet of retail space. The apartments would be split into market-rate and affordable housing options. The project is part of the redevelopment of the former Cabrini-Green public housing complex.

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Related Midwest | 723-741 W Randolph St | 859K sf

Another major Related filing came in October in the form of an 18-story office building that adds to a larger project the company has proposed there. That development is a 52-floor, 165-room hotel with a 30,000 square-foot Equinox club. That tower would include 370 apartments, 5,000 square feet for a restaurant and a fifth-story amenity level and deck. The two buildings would be on the same West Randolph Street block and total more than 850,000 square feet. Related paid $20 million for a large chunk of the block off the Kennedy Expressway, Cook County records show.

Sterling Bay | 1000 West Carroll Ave | 858K sf

Sterling Bay has been a major investor in Fulton Market over the last few years, and 2019 was no different.

In July, the developer proposed an 18-story, 288-foot tall office tower on the site of Pioneer Wholesale Meat warehouse. Sterling Bay paid about $20 million to acquire the site last year. Also in July, it proposed an 11-story building across the street.

Both properties are adjacent to the 1K Fulton office complex, which Sterling Bay redeveloped into Google’s Midwest headquarters in 2012. The developer later completed three new office buildings in the area and in November, announced it would move headquarters to its 19-story, under-construction office complex at 333 North Green Street.

Ryan Companies |1200-1234 W Fulton Market | 707K sf

Just before 2019 comes to a close, Ryan Companies has filed a plan for twin mixed-use office buildings near Google’s Midwest headquarters. The buildings would include 600,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of retail, according to Crain’s. The complex would be called Axis West at Fulton Market, with one of the buildings rising 300 feet, Crain’s reported. In January, the Minneapolis-based developer proposed a 400,000-square-foot spec distribution center to its Pullman Crossings campus on the city’s Far South Side.