Developer’s Mindset | Contractor’s Experience

River City Apartments a Chicago Condo Deconversion and Renovation

River City - A Short History

A Condo De-conversion and Renovation

River City, located at 800 S Wells Street in the South Loop of Chicago, is a mixed-use building designed by Bertrand Goldberg. Completed in 1986, River City consists of two, 7 to 14-story, serpentine residential towers constructed of cast in place concrete.   The 449 residential units varying in size from studios to 4-bedroom townhomes and feature very unique curved exterior walls.  The residential towers sit on a 4-story podium that contains approximately 250,000 square feet of commercial and office space.  The commercial space sits mostly vacant today, but once housed a 50,000 square foot health club.  River City is next to the Chicago River and includes a 70-slip marina with a bubbler system to prevent freezing which allows for year-round use.  On top of the podium sits Skyline Park, a 1-acre private park for the residents.  In addition, there is a 10-story atrium called “River Road” between the two residential towers.  

River City was originally conceived as a series of 72 story mixed-use skyscrapers.  Goldberg’s vision of a “city within a city” was capable of housing up to 30,000 families and included expansive services for residents.  He envisioned on-site medical clinics to educational and training facilities for “lifelong learning” according to Wikipedia.  Goldberg failed to secure approvals for his grand vision from the Chicago Planning Commission.  After decades of redesigns, he obtained approval to build what is River City today.  Plans to expand River City to the north and south were never realized.  Now defunct American Invesco converted the residential portion of the building to condominiums in 2001.  After years of neglect, the building was sold in December 2018 to a partnership lead by The Wolcott Group and Marc Realty to deconvert the condominiums into River City Apartments and reposition the entire building.  

River City Apartments

Largest Condo Deconversion in the History of Chicago

On December 21, 2018 The Wolcott Group and Marc Realty Capital acquired River City.  The acquisition was the largest condo to apartment deconversion in the history of Chicago.  The Wolcotts plan to renovate all 449 residential units and perform substantial upgrades to the building.  After many month of preconstruction services, pricing, value engineering, and scope refinement, The Wolcotts entered into a construction contract with 3F Construction to renovate the units. 

The unit renovations and common area upgrades will take approximately two years to complete.  The renovated units will feature upgraded kitchens, bathrooms, closets, flooring, doors, trim, and paint.  In addition, units will now include washers and dryers, a feature most renters demand in this price range.  

The new ownership group plans to renovate the common areas and add a new fitness center, co-working spaces, a dog run and gathering spaces. The group also plans to renovate the more than 250,000 square feet of office and retail space that continues to sit mostly vacant.  

River City Project News and Updates

Recent News and Updates about River City

River City Before Renovation

A Look at how River City stands today.

River Road Before Construction

A walk down River Road within River City Apartments