A six-story office building could sail into the boat yard site of Chicago’s Goose Island in the near future, if plans from Hartshorne Plunkard and developer South Street Capital can navigate logistical and regulatory difficulties surrounding the industrial district on the city’s near north side.
HPA calls the project at 934 N. Branch St. a “high-tech commercial development”. At 350,000 square feet, it’s larger than a similar project down the street from SOM, which also invoked the site’s industrial history with its structural expression. The $90 million HPA project, which tucks one floor of parking under four stories of office space and a penthouse, could be just the first phase of a larger development from HPA and South Street, according to HPA’s website:
The building’s design references and relates to a second project located across the street that will be developed by the same team. With the adaptive reuse of an existing industrial building at 909 W. Bliss Street into 248,000 SF of office space, Goose Island will be transformed into a high-tech commercial campus.
HPA’s design also includes “an elevated serpentine pedestrian and bike bridge” across the Chicago River linking the site with Milwaukee and Ogden Avenues.
After years of losing jobs to outsourcing and industrial decay, the redevelopment of Goose Island is significant as Chicago mulls options for restoring jobs in manufacturing that once helped define the region. Legacy industries like freight shipping and transportation might never employ the same share of Chicagoans as they once did, but many planners and businesspeople suspect the region may be on the verge of a rebirth in advanced manufacturing.
Goose Island remains one of the city’s planned manufacturing districts. It’s unclear at the project’s outset if HPA’s office tower could require an exception to the district’s stipulations, or if it could herald the beginning of new uses beyond the planned manufacturing district framework.