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Onni Group readying construction of 41-story River North apartment tower

Renderings of 353 West Grand Avenue

Renderings of 353 West Grand Avenue

Onni Group is moving forward with its plan to replace a closed hardware store on the western edge of River North with a 41-story apartment tower.

The Vancouver-based development firm applied for a foundation permit this month for its 356-unit apartment proposal at 353 West Grand Avenue, according to city records.

The tower would rise from a five-story podium with 261 parking spaces above ground-floor retail, replacing the former Clark & Barlow Hardware at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Orleans Street.

The application represents a major step in Onni’s second shot at the project, after Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) rejected its 2015 proposal for a shorter, wider version of the tower. The firm doubled back in June with a revised plan that sets the building back to include more green space.

Following another round of tweaks, Reilly endorsed the plan and shepherded it through the zoning approval process in the fall.

The complex would rise about three blocks north of the Merchandize Mart and Wolf Point, and a few blocks south of a cluster of office low-rises that North Wells Capital plans to expand during the next several years. Unlike in the Central Loop, where the owners of many office high-rises are suddenly rushing to sell their properties, River North landlords have enjoyed a relatively tight office market.

The Onni tower would also sit just across the North Branch of the Chicago River from Tribune Media’s planned 37-acre River District megaproject.

Onni is planning a network of new apartment buildings near the river, including separate proposals at 1140 North Wells Street, 352 North Union Avenue and 900 North Halsted on Goose Island.

In March, Onni paid $78 million for an office building at 550 West Van Buren Street.

The firm is even more active in Los Angeles, where it’s on track to deliver some 1,250 new apartments this year.

A spokesperson for Onni declined comment Wednesday.

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