Micro apartments may come to South Loop


Courtesy LG Development Group

A rendering of the proposed apartment complex with extended stay hotel rooms.


For about $1,300 per month, a 336 square-foot apartment might not seem like sufficient space for the price, but some consider it the only way to live in a chic neighborhood.

A local development group proposed plans in early September for a complex in the South Loop with 40 extended stay hotel rooms and 90 residence units.

The LG Development Group hopes to build a 15-story “micro apartment” complex on a quarter-acre lot at the intersection of Polk and Dearborn streets and has presented its proposal to the South Loop Neighbors Group. The developers envision a building of 336 square-foot, furnished apartments that would cost about $1,200–$1,300 per month to rent.

“[Micro apartments are] a trend that started in New York City and [traveled] to the Midwest,” said Rene King, a lecturer in the Design Department. “I was reading an article, and [the trend has] even found its way to Iowa at this point, which is surprising.”

LG Development Group Acquisitions Director Daniel Haughney said the group has not finalized a price, and the current projected price is market driven.

“We really believe we’re going to be able to hit these numbers [$1,200—$1,300],” Haughney said. “We’ve done a lot of research.”

Haughney said the target demographic for the micro apartments includes young professionals and empty nesters looking for a weekend residence in the city.

“We’re going to provide a nice fit within the neighborhood, and we think it will work well off some of the buildings on Dearborn,” Haughney said.

Susan Ohde, president of the South Loop Neighbors Group, said she has mixed feelings about the apartment complex potentially joining the area.

“It is cool and it might be the future, [but] I don’t get it yet,”

Ohde said.

Ohde added that she sees the need for this type of complex but does not know whether the modern building is a good fit for the historic South Loop neighborhood.

“It’s not what I would choose to put there, but then, I would choose to put nothing there,” Ohde said. “I would like it to stay a [wood] chip lot.”

King said she is most concerned about whether the company is providing an appropriate price point for the amenities and location.

“I think if it’s done responsibly, respectfully and thinking about who they are designing this space for, it could really be a positive thing,” King said. “I think there’s also a danger, depending on how they are being developed, that this could also be a new apartment typology that developers or landlords could [use to] make more of a profit.”

Ohde said she does not think the company’s idea would match the rest of the architecture in the South Loop.

“It’s like a bad punctuation mark at the end of a sentence,” Ohde said. “It’s this metal—and—glass building that’s going on the end of a historic printing company that was built in 1890.”

She added that there may be problems with the building next door because it is a turn-of-the-century structure, and the foundation may suffer from the construction.

Ohde mentioned  that Alderman William Burns (4th ward) lets her group hear presentations for new development first.

“They’re basically giving us the opportunity to throw rocks at them,” she said.

The South Loop Neighbors have seen a lot of pitches for the space throughout the years, and none of them have been built, Odhe said. There are still hurdles for LG Development Group to overcome before it can build. The group  has to speak with the Landmarks Commission.

Odhe said that the South Loop Neighbors Group does its best to maintain the integrity of

the area.

“Ultimately, we want to come up with a development that the community likes, that the alderman would support, that we’re proud of It’s just kind of finding a balance,” Haughney said.