It was in the 1970s that Dan Levin, founder and chairman of residential development and management firm the Habitat Company LLC, first had a vision for Chicago’s River North neighborhood. At the time, the area was just a “rail yard and rail houses,” according to Mark Segal, the Habitat Company’s current president and CEO, but Levin saw an opportunity to turn it into a real community.
Levin began making an impact on the area with the development of the now-iconic East Bank Club, one of the nation’s most elaborate urban sports, dining, and health facilities, and he continued with the acquisition of several more sites—one of which, in 2007, became home to Kingsbury Plaza, a 420-unit residence. Today, thanks in part to his work, River North is one of Chicago’s most vibrant and thriving areas.
In October 2013, the Habitat Company opened its most recent building in the district: Hubbard Place. The stunning 43-story, 450-unit residence is a prime example of the firm’s focus on the finer things, but it’s also meant to fit in with its surroundings unobtrusively. “We wanted to make sure that what we did was good for the residents at Hubbard Place as well as the people in the surrounding community,” Segal says.
Located across from the East Bank Club, Hubbard Place makes an impact at its start with a dramatic streetscape. The building is set back significantly from the road, and in front of it are two fountains running 80 feet in length. They’re accompanied by a garden where, according to Segal, you can find people from the neighborhood enjoying their lunch during the day.
Just past the porte-cochere, residents enter a stunning lobby, which features wood-paneled walls, high ceilings, artwork, and a series of mirror-backed alcoves displaying and lighting Bernardaud china from below.
Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the building provide extraordinary views of the city, and some of the best can be found in the 29,000-square-foot amenities area that spans the entire ninth floor and opens to an outdoor deck. Inside is a two-way fireplace, a living green wall, a boardroom, a “Connect” computer station, a cinema room, a game room, a full fitness-yoga-spa center—with a Whirlpool spa, a sauna, and a steam room containing a glass wall that can be opened onto the deck during the summer—and the Hub Club lounge, which has a full chef’s kitchen. Outside is a spacious pool, a fire pit, a full kitchen with a grill station, and a series of seating areas and “little niches,” as Segal calls them, with their own grills.
The building’s living spaces range from studios to two-bedrooms, and “they have the highest level of finishes we’ve ever done,” Segal says. The kitchens, for example, are outfitted with quartz countertops, peninsula-counter seating with custom-made pendant lighting, and Snaidero-designed Italian cabinetry (which is also included in the bathrooms). Eligna-brand oak flooring covers the common areas of each unit, there’s Berber carpeting in the bedrooms, and balconies and bay windows offer an extraordinary connection to the city.
Along the exterior, the balconies and bays are broken up by orange accents so that “people see something more than a monolithic structure,” Segal says. Tied to this orange is a four-color geometric pattern affixed to the façade of the building’s garage.
Levin founded the Habitat Company in 1971, and today it holds $2 billion in assets and manages more than 20,000 residential units. Through projects such as Hubbard Place, with their abundant amenities and inviting community features, the firm is living up to its founder’s original principal: “No project is only an investment in real estate. It is an investment in the future of the community and in the lives of the people who live and work there.”
GRAND BAY WINDOWS
ORANGE EXTERIOR ACCENTS
COPPER FIRE PIT
SOFT-TOUCH CABINETRY IN KITCHENS AND BATHS
CUSTOM-MADE PENDANT LIGHTING
STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES
ELIGNA OAK FLOORING AND BERBER CARPETING
CHINA IN LOBBY