New York developers pivot Fulton Market tower

Plans veer from earlier hotel proposal to fully resi

Mill Hill Capital's David Meneret and Azur Cos' Joseph McMillan Jr (LinkedIn, SCB)
Mill Hill Capital's David Meneret and Azur Cos' Joseph McMillan Jr (LinkedIn, Studio Scrivo, SCB)

New York developers Mill Hill Capital and Azur Cos. have pivoted from a hotel to a purely residential project for their planned metal and glass tower in Fulton Market.

Their proposal for Chicago’s 1234 West Randolph Street is poised to rise 470 feet and 42 stories high, according to a city zoning application, Urbanize reported.

It’s a shift away from the lodging market, which in Chicago recovered slower from the pandemic than in other large cities and has been more reliant on the return of trade shows and conventions. Earlier this year, California hotel investor Sunstone called Chicago’s hotel market oversupplied as it sold two assets at losses from their purchase prices.

Yet Fulton Market’s hotels such as the Hoxton and SoHo House and their retail offerings have contributed to the work-play-live scene that’s made the Chicago neighborhood among the hottest of late.

The development team consists of Joseph A. McMillan, CEO and chairman of Azur, and Mill Hill’s founder and CIO David Meneret, according to the firms’ websites. McMillan also leads luxury developer DDG, which was the firm working with Chicago’s Marc Realty to bring a 13-story, 250-room hotel branded by Standard to the Randolph Street site, according to previously published reports.

It’s unclear whether Marc is still involved with the project, and the development firms didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

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The redirection toward residential adds the project to the ongoing apartment development boom in the West Loop and especially in Fulton Market, where both housing and offices are in demand. The West Loop had more than 9,000 units planned or under construction — more than the rest of downtown Chicago neighborhoods combined – as of March. Much of that development has come after the City Council did away with a ban on residential zoning in that area in April 2021.

The tower is planned for the western portion of the site at the corner of West Randolph Street and North Racine Avenue, overlooking the intersection of North Willard Court and West Randolph. It’s set to include 400 rental units, 80 of which will be marketed as affordable housing to meet the city’s 20 percent Affordable Requirements Ordinance.

The project has to go before the city’s Zoning Committee and Plan Commission, as well as the City Council, for approval. There’s not yet a public timeline for its completion.

Other glass high-rises recently proposed for Fulton Market include Chicago developer Fred Latsko’s plans for nearly 40 stories at 375 North Morgan Street on the site of the Guinness brewery and taproom under construction. Emerging developer Joy Jordan is also moving forward with a 17-story mixed-use tower on Sangamon Street, which will include office and retail space. Construction on Sterling Bay’s first multifamily project in Fulton Market is also underway at 160 North Morgan Street.

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