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New Gold Coast Apartments Off Lake Shore Drive Clear City Panel

 Renderings of a proposed 8-story apartment building at 61 E. Banks St., the last bit of undeveloped lakefront in the Gold Coast. 
Proposed apartment building at 61 E. Banks St.
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GOLD COAST — A key city panel signed off Thursday on an eight-story apartment building proposed for a parking lot off Lake Shore Drive, a project that would fill the last undeveloped lakefront lot in the Gold Coast. 

Rents at the "ultra-luxury" building at 61 E. Banks St. would run between $6,000 and $10,000 a month, representatives of developer Draper & Kramer told neighbors last month. 

The Chicago Plan Commission approved the developer's plans Thursday after Draper & Kramer acquiesced to neighbor demands to build the apartments farther away from the Drive. The building will be built 15 feet from the Drive, deeper than the 12 feet Draper & Kramer proposed last month and certainly the 7-foot setback it sought last year. 

The building's rear setback along Ritchie Court was consequentially shortened to about 20 feet

As a result of moving the building farther off Lake Shore Drive, the back of the building will now be only 20 feet from Ritchie Court. 

Neighbors told the developer last month the building was too close to the Drive, cutting into their views and likely their property values.

RELATED: New Gold Coast Apartments Would Rent For $6,000 to $10,000 A Month

If built, the building would replace a longtime parking lot with a mix of high-priced two- and three-bedroom apartments, many with floor-to-ceiling views of Lake Michigan. Around-the-clock doormen, valets and a concierge would serve the building's tenants, who also would have access to a private rooftop lounge atop the old-school, stone-clad building. 

Draper & Kramer has owned the lot for decades, and first proposed a 40-story, 196-unit tower there in 1997. But the high-rise proposal drew the ire of an influential neighborhood group and led a former Gold Coast alderman to change the property's zoning, sparking an unsuccessful lawsuit against the city that lasted nearly 10 years.

RELATED: Gold Coast Development Scaled Way Down After Major Legal Battle With City

The site is the last undeveloped lakefront lot between Diversey Parkway and the hole in the ground dug for the Chicago Spire. 

Here are more looks at the city-approved building:


[All renderings by Booth Hansen]