The historic integrity and character of the Fulton Market District gateway is threatened by an 18-story glass-and-steel office building proposed for the entire block bounded by Fulton, Halsted, Wayman and Green streets. This property is immediately to the north of the neighborhood’s distinctive gateway signage near the corner of Halsted and Fulton. The current development plan proposes to demolish all of the existing buildings. The development proposal by New York developer Thor Equities envisions an approximately 400,000-square-foot, 18-story glass-and-steel office building to be designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). To proceed, a significant upzoning from C2-5 to DX-7 will be required to accommodate the large new building.
Erin Bowler, a longtime resident of 720 W. Fulton Building stated that “maintaining the historic character [of the Fulton Market District] benefits not just us and the neighborhood, but the whole city and the district itself.”
Preservation Chicago strongly encourages Thor Equities and SOM to save the historic loft building facades of 810 W. Fulton Market and 300 N. Green Street and incorporate them into the base of any proposed new construction projects. These four-story, red brick, loft buildings are characteristic of the Fulton Market District and would provide the appropriate scale and material for the streetscape. It’s even more important that these building facades be reused because they serve as the gateway buildings to the entire Fulton Market District. Ironically, these gateway buildings were not included within the boundaries of the Fulton-Randolph Market Landmark District.
Furthermore, Thor Equites has specific experience with façade adaptive reuse at their project under construction a couple blocks away at 905 West Fulton Market. In this case, the facades were in much worse condition than those at 810 W. Fulton Market, yet they are being successfully incorporated into the new development and provide a sense of character and authenticity to the new construction. Preservation Chicago strongly urges the Thor Equities and SOM to pursue this direction.