YMCA Announced As Anchor For Assemble Chicago In The Loop

Updated rendering for Assemble Chicago by Studio Gang and DesignBridge

A new YMCA has been announced as the anchor tenant for the mixed-use development at 331 S Plymouth Court in The Loop. Located on the intersection with W Van Buren Street directly across from the Harold Washington Library, the project was originally announced in 2021. Dubbed Assemble Chicago, it is being developed by The Community Builders with Studio Gang, DesignBridge, and JAQ working on its design.

View of Downtown Loop Site at 331 S Plymouth Court. Image by C40

View of Downtown Loop Site at 331 S Plymouth Court. Image by C40

The team was chosen from a batch of proposals submitted for a design contest led by the Department of Planning and Development as a part of the C40 Reinventing Cities initiative. The competition was aimed at revitalizing a quieter end of the The Loop, while making it accessible to citizens of all incomes. Thus the new project would replace an existing parking structure on the western edge of Pritzker Park as well as a small portion of the park itself.

Assemble Chicago Finalist. Rendering by Studio Gang

Assemble Chicago Finalist. Rendering by Studio Gang

Rising 20-stories in height with a serrated front facing State Street, the base of the project will be a large three-story active space originally set to include a monumental staircase. However the YMCA announcement included a revised rendering showing the stairs being removed, instead the updated angled facade will incorporate additional space for the fitness club inside. The project would also include $2 million to improve Pritzker Park itself.

Diagram of Assemble Chicago. Diagram by StudioGang

Diagram of Assemble Chicago. Diagram by Studio Gang

The new YMCA location will span 14,000 square-feet of space, creating a full-circle moment since their first outpost opened nearby in 1867. The facility will boast a half-gym, fitness center, a child-care center, and additional spaces for youth and community programming according to Crain’s Chicago. The rest of the space will be filled by a small clinic run by Rush University and a ground floor restaurant.

Assemble Chicago. Rendering by StudioGang

Assemble Chicago. Rendering by Studio Gang

The floors above will hold 207-residential units made up of studios, one-, and two-bedroom layouts, these will be aimed at those making 30- to 80-percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The $102 million development is still in the process of securing financing prior to moving forward, with the development team hoping to start construction in 2025 as most of the commercial space is now spoken for.

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10 Comments on "YMCA Announced As Anchor For Assemble Chicago In The Loop"

  1. Holabird and Roach | September 26, 2023 at 8:08 am | Reply

    Wow, this compliments the Fisher building nicely, it’s very Chicago School. Looks like a win all around. Build it!

  2. Hi!
    Could the newly proposed YMCA and residential development also include the former Binyon’s Restaurant, now known as the Plymouth Restaurant Building, at 327 S. Plymouth Court?

    This is a wonderful and historic three-story building, which should be considered for incorporation into a larger development, with the historic building also considered for Chicago Landmark Designation as well. There are fewer and fewer of these smaller buildings remaining in the Chicago Loop and every effort should be considered to retain them and link them to new projects in order to save them, as they provide a unique history and also preserve the human scale and link to the past. Thank you for your consideration of this possible idea.
    Ward Miller, Preservation Chicago

    • Hi Ward! I believe the building containing Plymouth restaurant will stay! this project encompasses the parking garage and plaza to the south of it. However it will definitely block its rooftop’s views!

  3. The YMCA may have come full circle as far as location, but the YMCA of Metro Chicago is far away from what they should be as an organization. They have shut down many neighborhood YMCAs with large and active membership, citing financial difficulties, yet can somehow occupy the ground floor in new construction in the loop, and cater to those who can afford to go to college (Columbia, School of the Art Institute, etc.)/pay downtown rent. The facilities that are left in neighborhood locations are there mainly to make a profit off of Section 8 vouchers. Other organizations are better qualified to provide long-term, low income housing, since YMCA housing facilities are one step above those in a flop-house. The Chicago area YMCA might be providing services for whoever is living in the below-median-income units, but this organization has left gaping holes in neighborhoods, especially for children. If the YMCA is are getting any kind of subsidies, I hope that is thoroughly reviewed.

  4. I’m glad they’re improving the park. It doesn’t really serve any function at the moment.

  5. Wow…that “park” has been a dead zone for decades, so this is long overdue. So glad it’s not another luxury rental with Wolf appliances and a dog wash. The planned size is appropriate to its taller neighbors and the color complements the adjacent library. It will, of course, leave the little Plymouth in its shadow. 🙁

  6. Oh! Yet another residential building downtown. Exactly what this area needed! Boo, thumbs down.

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