Chicago’s Flair Tower Secures LEED Silver Certification

Chicago--Flair Tower, a boutique transit-oriented development featuring 198 upscale residences, recently earned LEED Silver certification.

Chicago–Flair Tower, a boutique apartment property developed by McCaffery Interests Inc., recently earned LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The transit-oriented development features 198 upscale residences.

Flair Tower sits in Chicago’s River North neighborhood at the intersection of Erie and Franklin. “When we saw the site, we knew it would help us achieve LEED certification, because the location alone, which is near the L and bus lines, is inherently sustainable,” Pamela Austin, project manager with McCaffery, tells MHN. “Additionally, we’ve always done transportation-oriented urban infill projects, which is, by nature, smart planning.”

With W.E. O’Neil Construction Company having served as general contractor, Flair Tower opened its doors to residences just under one year ago. The 26-story building, designed by Antunovich Associates, also encompasses 9,500 square feet of ground-level retail and 185 parking spots.

McCaffery has been a dedicated green builder for the last two decades, so the company was prepared to handle a few challenges presented by the Flair Tower project. “The property is adjacent to the historic Flair House building, so one of our first goals was to be sensitive to the property–the setbacks, the height, the façade,” Austin says.

The apartment high-rise, constructed with locally produced and recycled building materials, has a long list of green features, including water-efficient plumbing fixtures and low VOC-emitting paints and sealants. Bike storage rooms with changing rooms for employees working in the building’s retail space and share-car services are also on the list, as is a green roof. “We were able to do landscaping, as well as a pool, spa and dog run. So not only does the green roof function to lower the heat island effect, it also provides a beautiful amenity.” And there’s more. “We were recognized for exemplary performance in the category of day lighting,” she adds. “We have 95 percent day lighting. There is a lot of glass, so there is a great deal of natural light and views, which the tenants love.”

Among the apartment building’s more unique green elements is an art collection. Chicago is home to the largest gallery district in the United States after New York City. “Lee Flaherty, who owns the nearby Flair House, had a displaced art collection, so I made a deal with him to store the art. There are works on every floor of the building. It’s the ultimate form of recycling.”