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North and LaSalle FAQ

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions we have received since engagement began. This list will continue to be updated as the team receives feedback throughout this process. 

Now that you’ve signed an agreement with the Old Town Commissary Market, is a full size grocer off the table?

We are absolutely thrilled to find a new home for the 1350 Commissary Market in Old Town. Partnering with the Commissary team has been the perfect puzzle piece for our project and has given us the flexibility to simultaneously continue identifying larger tenant options for the Treasure Island (TI) parcel while providing services to the community. Through our agreement, the Old Town Commissary Market will operate in the TI space with the option to move into a new retail location at the base of our proposed residential building as soon as a larger tenant is identified. 

What is the unit count and makeup of the proposed tower?

Our proposed tower includes 500 residential units, 100 (20%) of which will be designated for affordable housing to ensure this building is compliant with City of Chicago standards and accessible to a wide range of residents. The units will be a traditional mix of studio, one bedroom, and multi-bedroom options that are similar to the unit mix found in all of the existing residential towers surrounding the property. 

How did you land on this proposed height and density?

Our design reflects a goldilocks proposition where we identified what we consider to be the best density option for this community, avoiding breaking the project into multiple towers which would more greatly impact the neighborhood, and instead favoring a consolidated, more organized singular tower. We are applying to change the underlying density via a Planned Development application based on the underlying zoning of what’s known as a “Dash-5” density as permitted by the City of Chicago zoning code. This density, within a singular tower, results in a building height that is nearly identical to the three existing towers also along the lakefront in this neighborhood, including, James Kilmer Association, 1660 N Lasalle Association, and Eugenie Terrace residences. 

Have you conducted a traffic study? If so, what are the findings?

Traffic and congestion have been top of mind for us as we want to ensure that our development does not negatively impact traffic patterns and add to congestion in the neighborhood. That’s why we recruited one of the country's leading traffic engineering firms, Kenig, Lindgren, O’Hara, Aboona, Inc. (KLOA, Inc.), to execute a comprehensive and independent traffic study on the area. We are pleased to share that our study shows that we can have a neutral impact on traffic patterns and that our project falls within the existing engineers capacity of the neighborhood. Additionally, the scale of sites involved in this project allows for the opportunity to collaborate with the city to incorporate input from the community to actually improve the flow of traffic along the North and LaSalle Corridor.

What are your plans to address safety in the community?

Increasing neighborhood safety is another top priority and has been a cornerstone of this project since day one. After working closely with the Chicago Police Department, safety experts and our partners, we have proposed the following options as clear paths toward increased safety in the community:

  • Removing of the BP and Shell gas stations, both of which have become targets for violence and crime over the past few years

  • Enclosing the surface parking lot on LaSalle + activating the vacant Treasure Island parcel, both of which have remained dark and negatively impacted residents for years

  • Adding new, open retail options to the corner of North and LaSalle along with outdoor lighting to better illuminate the sidewalks, ultimately creating a more pedestrian friendly corridor and less prone opportunity for crime.

  • Installing surveillance cameras to further support community-wide safety initiatives

Parking is a concern for many residents. What are your plans to address this?

A key element of our proposal is a low-rise parking garage that would serve the residents of our proposed tower and the members and staff of the Moody Church next door. As our partner throughout this process, we have worked closely with Moody to identify opportunities to better serve their members and the community at large. One glaring need is parking, which we will address by designating 300 parking spaces for Moody’s use exclusively. By guaranteeing these parking spaces for staff and church members, we will help ease the burden on the neighborhood’s limited street parking options and open up more parking options throughout the community to non-Moody affiliated residents and visitors.

Have you conducted any environmental studies? If so, what were the findings?

Yes, we have conducted the customary environmental due diligence for all parcels involved in our proposal. We have incorporated these findings into the proposal to ensure that any redevelopment of the properties with respect to the environment would be pursued in accordance with any and all laws and ordinances.

Will your project take any steps to be more bird friendly?

Our project was designed to be as bird friendly as possible. The materiality and depth of the facade profile we have selected utilizes metal panels and protrusions, which create the color palette effect, facade shadowing, and visual surfaces that are much easier for birds to discern.

As a sponsor of the Bird Friendly Building Ordinance, this is also a top priority for Alderman Hopkins, and we are happy to work alongside him to identify an option to minimize the impact on local birds as much as possible.

How have you incorporated community feedback to the design into your building?

We have taken several steps toward adjusting the design of the project per direction and feedback from the community, and we will continue to consider additional opportunities to adjust the project design based on our ongoing dialogue with residents.

  • First, and probably most importantly, we received very strong direction that pursuing multiple towers (and specifically any tower east of Lasalle) was strongly opposed and so this led the development team to explore consolidating the otherwise individual development rights of nearly a half dozen parcels into a single, consolidated tower.

  • Our revised single-tower proposal will now be set back over 40 feet from Wells Street (increased by over 150%) and the building width will be reduced from 190 feet to 164 feet (decreased by over 15%), while the height will only increase by 85 feet. Notably, the entire increase in building height comes with zero incremental impact on any surrounding unit owners, while the new slimness of the tower equally benefits every neighboring unit at any and all levels of these same buildings from the 4th floor to the 40th floor.

  • Over the past few months, we saw an overwhelming response in favor of the “Townhome Tapestry” design inspiration for the Walgreens facade and parking structure, which we have incorporated into updated plans.

  • We have also adjusted the tower design to utilize a warmer color palette and more traditional design inspiration to better align with the existing color scheme of the neighborhood. Additionally, we’ve adjusted the proposal to include a cohesive, brick base that ties the project together and fits within the neighborhood context.

Finally, after a suggestion directly from community members, we have added a porte cochere turnaround on LaSalle.

What zoning changes are you asking for?

The development team has recently submitted a Planned Development (PD) Application that includes multiple sites and multiple owners electing to participate in this process. The PD would consolidate the underlying zoning of all parcels that have elected to join the application to a B1-5 zoning classification which is identical to the existing zoning district of the properties to our west along North Ave, to our south along Wells St, and including the two closest existing tower to our north including Americana Tower and 1660 North Lasalle which are both the same “Dash-5” underlying zoning density as our application. From this zoning baseline, the PD establishes three subareas, Pipers Alley to the west and the Moody Church to the east, and in the middle is subarea B which is the only actual residential development being designed and applied for approval to build at this time via the public engagement process we’ve been running these past few years. Following approval, the developer would be able to build the proposed project on the current surface parking lot and single story Walgreens site which comprises the aforementioned Subarea B parcel within the broader PD area.

Where can we watch the most recent presentation of your proposal?

Please visit our YouTube page
(@fernhillcompany) to view recordings of our past community meetings. 

Is there any way the community benefits identified through your engagement process (for ex., creating more parking, identifying a grocer tenant, removing the gas stations) can happen without the tower?

Throughout our community engagement process, we have focused our proposal around bringing benefits identified by residents to the neighborhood. Among others, we have heard continuous concerns around safety, parking and traffic. By putting forth our proposal, which includes a planned development and coordinated approach to reimagining parts of the North and LaSalle corridor, we have identified what we consider to be the best compromise for the community. It is our belief that a single tower focused on minimization of view impacts, reduction of shadows, reducing curb cuts, and addressing safety and traffic concerns, would be a preferable, less invasive option for the community to grow as opposed to a series of uncoordinated developments with multiple, fragmented developers on each parcel included in the planned development. And, knowing that public safety and security have been the number one concern expressed by this community, the consolidated plan is the only way to immediately bring these safety improvements to fruition in one consolidated and thoughtful plan.

What are the next steps for this project?

While our door remains open for additional engagement and community feedback, we are grateful for the opportunity to advance this process by recently submitting a Planned Development Application to the Chicago City Council. This application will enable the project to continue through an even more detailed review with everyone, and we look forward to those conversations. We are grateful for all of the input the community has already shared with us, and we encourage you to continue providing your thoughts and ideas through this website and by emailing us directly at