Anchored by institutions like Chicago’s Columbia College, the South Loop has seen a rapid increase in new rental skyscraper construction and in the coming years is likely to change the face of Chicago’s skyline dramatically. The neighborhood has a large number of condo towers with easy access to Lake Michigan, Grant Park, and all the amenities that go along with such a prime location.
While Columbia College has purchased and rehabilitated many of the historic buildings in the South Loop, developers have renovated many more. The area was once a center of auto retailing and printing in the early twentieth century, and still has pockets where that history is on full display, such as Motor Row and Printer’s Row.
During the real estate boom of the early 2000s, developers constructed many large high-rise condominium buildings to capitalize on the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown and the lakefront’s centerpiece, Grant Park, with its internationally-famed collection of museums. In recent years, as the apartment market has predominated, developers have returned to building large rental skyscrapers that are today changing the face of the southern end of Grant Park.
Residents in the neighborhood are primarily apartment dwellers and the newer buildings focus on offering large and plush amenities from rooftop decks and pools, to grocers and more. A revival of Roosevelt Road heading west from Michigan Avenue is bringing many national businesses to a corridor that has a renewed interest by larger chains wishing to serve the thriving area. Development planned for the last large parcels on the western end of the neighborhood promises to bring still more change in years to come.