UPDATE: Ald. Brian Hopkins says he will host an online community meeting to discuss the latest revisions to the 1130 N. State Street proposal on Wednesday, June 23 at 6:00 p.m. Click here to register for the virtual event.
A long-discussed plan to demolish the former Barnes & Noble bookstore at 1130 N. State Street and redevelop the Gold Coast site into a mixed-use high-rise is inching closer to reality. Developer Newcastle Limited recently filed a zoning application for a 29-story tower—an indication the proposal is advancing.
Newcastle originally pitched a 39-story tower with 368 apartments, but that plan was shot down by Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) in 2019. The elected official called the previous design unattractive and "excessively tall for that lot," telling the Chicago Tribune that the development team "missed the mark on all counts."
The latest plan was presented to Gold Coast neighbors in October. The Solomon Cordwell Buenz-designed building shrunk from 465 to 326 feet tall and will feature 304 luxury rental units, 31,000 square feet of retail space, and parking for 132 cars. There will be eight affordable units on-site and the developer will pay $8.1 million into the city's Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund and Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.
The development boundaries include the Lou Malnati's pizzeria to the immediate south, but the restaurant will remain in place for the time being. A later phase would demolish the low-rise restaurant and erect a new structure for Lou Malnati's which will be set further back from the street to create a larger sidewalk and additional outdoor dining space.
The high-rise proposal at 1130 N. State is not seeking a change to the site's underlying zoning but it will need to go through the city's Planned Development process, which requires the approval of the alderman, the Plan Commission, and the City Council. It's unclear if the current plan has the support of Ald. Hopkins, and the alderman's office did not respond to a request for comment.
If and when the project is approved by the city, Newcastle plans to demolish the former bookstore within 12 months. Construction on the new tower would take approximately 24 months, according to the developer.
Newcastle is also the developer behind the upcoming 12-story Gild apartments at nearby 1210 N. State Parkway. Currently under construction, the 89-unit rental building is expected to welcome residents in early 2022.