FitzGerald Brings Cold-Formed Steel Construction, Historic-Nod Aesthetics to River West Boutique Residential Development

Construction is underway in Chicago’s bustling River West neighborhood on 851 West Grand Ave., a 36-unit boutique apartment development designed by FitzGerald Associates Architects.
The six-story building, developed by Chicago-based Monroe Residential Partners, features a contemporary design featuring a copper colored glazed brick inspired by the site’s previous building and a main entryway highlighted in red brick. Offering a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments 851 W. Grand will include adjacent parking for 18 vehicles, reflecting reduced parking requirements under Chicago’s transit-oriented-development zoning guidelines.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Monroe Residential Partners on this development which is helping to re-invigorate a historic community and adding new housing options in the area,” said FitzGerald President Mike DeRouin. “In recent years, the River West community has become one of Chicago’s liveliest architectural scenes with proportionately scaled new development melding into the existing vintage cityscape. The design of 851 West Grand typifies how infill construction in established neighborhoods can add further vitality to a community while respecting its historic fabric.”

851 West Grand is located just west of busy Milwaukee Avenue, dubbed the “hipster highway” because of the 14,000 daily bicycle commuters who daily use the street’s bike lanes. The corridor also has become a leading center for transit-oriented housing and commercial developments in recent years. As a transit oriented development (TOD), 851 West Grand is located one block from the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line Grand Avenue Station, as well as steps from bus lines and the bustling Fulton Market district.

“FitzGerald Associates Architects has designed a wide range of TOD developments which made us ideally suited for this project,” said DeRouin. “Based on zoning incentives and available land and building stock, we’re going to see much more infill TOD housing of this scale developed around Chicago and elsewhere.”

The building will utilize relatively new cold-formed steel studded framing, which allows for the replication of traditional wood-beam construction techniques in a manner that also meets strict Chicago fire codes. As a result, the building will be significantly lighter and more economical than cast-in-place concrete construction more typical of buildings of this size, noted DeRouin. The building has been designed to offer a more affordable price point for renters compared to many of the other new developments in the area.

Chicago-based Summit Design Build is the general contractor on the project and construction is scheduled to be completed by mid-2017.

FitzGerald Associates Architects has extensive experience designing a wide array of housing, ranging from high-rise multi-unit buildings to single family homes. In recent years, the firm has designed a number of transit-oriented developments in the city and suburbs, including the E2 Apartments in Evanston, the Arkadia in Chicago’s West Loop, and numerous adaptive reuse projects in and around downtown Chicago, many located along the city’s most used transit corridors.