Case Study / North Bridge | Chicago



  • Investment and Development Management


  • Total of 5,700,000 SF
    • 970,000 SF of retail space
    • 725,000 SF of office space
    • 2,675 hotel keys
    • 602 residential units
    • 2,689 parking stalls

Year Started | Completed

  • 1990 | 2010

Project Summary

The development of the North Bridge District represents one of the most significant mixed-use projects in Chicago over the past several decades.  Spanning over nine blocks, this assemblage includes a mix of retail, office, hotel, residential and parking totaling 5.7 million square feet. In order to execute the master plan, JBC purchased air rights and modified existing entitlements to create and maximize value.

5.7M SF


970,000 SF

retail space

725,000 SF

office space


residential units

The Property

The multi-phased development utilized all facets of JBC’s vertically integrated investment and operating platforms.  JBC provided construction management oversight to complete various projects, including tenant build-outs and concept roll-outs with strict deadlines. At one point, five construction cranes were in operation on various blocks and approximately 5,000 construction workers and five architectural design teams were on-site under the supervision of five separate general contractors.

The 520 North Michigan Avenue project was the largest and most prominent element of the North Bridge District. The development totaled 925,000 SF and spanned two city blocks. The property combined hotel (Conrad Chicago), retail (Nordstrom) and parking, which required intense planning, both in design and budgeting. In addition, JBC executed an adaptive reuse of the landmarked façade of the existing 520 Michigan Avenue building. JBC carefully removed, cataloged, restored, and reattached the historic exterior onto the new Nordstrom retail and Conrad Chicago hotel complex. By preserving the façade, JBC was able to ensure the character of Chicago’s most famous shopping corridor would be maintained.

Our Role

Prior to the retail opening, JBC coordinated the timely sequencing of base building work and approximately 30 concurrent tenant build-outs.  In the end, Nordstrom opened its doors on the exact date as mandated in its lease agreement.

Critical to the success of the project was connecting Michigan Avenue to a Nordstrom store that needed to occupy a full city block west of Michigan Avenue.  Given the zoning and planning challenges, the project necessitated close working relationships with various departments in the City of Chicago including: Building Department, Department of Transportation and several divisions at the Department of Planning and Development.

The project required complex negotiations with multiple land owners as well as community and municipal leaders on nine city blocks.  The assemblage alone took several years to fully complete and included extremely precise financial planning. In coordination with the City of Chicago, JBC rezoned five of the core blocks and secured a long-term air rights lease to enable Nordstrom to maximize its floor plan layouts.

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