Lendlease, a leading international property and infrastructure group, recently celebrated the grand opening of The Cooper at Southbank, a 29-story, 452-unit luxury high-rise located at 720 S. Wells St. in Chicago’s South Loop. The Cooper marks the first of five new luxury residential builds Lendlease has planned for Southbank, its new South Loop development project.
Located along the south branch of the Chicago River, the new Southbank neighborhood includes five residential towers situated around a soon-to-be-opened two-acre public park and riverwalk. According to Justin Patwin, project director for Southbank at Lendlease, the team took inspiration for Southbank from neighboring Printers Row, an iconic Chicago neighborhood and the bygone hub of the nation’s printing industry. Patwin notes that the team sought to develop Southbank as a dynamic urban neighborhood with active connections to the vibrant Chicago art scene and to surrounding communities.
Southbank marks a transformative moment in the development of the South Loop as a robust residential neighborhood, with Related Midwest’s upcoming 30-acre mixed use development, The 78, slated to be developed on a nearby 62-acre vacant riverfront parcel. “As experts in placemaking and urban regeneration, Lendlease saw the untapped potential of this prime riverfront parcel,” Patwin explains. The Lendlease team was particularly excited by the growth potential in the South Loop given its proximity to The Loop’s central business district and the area’s “unparalleled access to the Chicago River.” Additionally, Ralph Johnson, global design director of Perkins+Will, the project’s architect, states that the overarching project design “maximizes the potential of its riverfront location, and will provide new public open spaces for Chicago.”
Along with a robust neighborhood development plan, Lendlease has embraced a unique arts-based branding strategy for Southbank, which involves inclusion of music-, art- and craft-based amenities for residents, use of Printers Row-inspired typographic treatments on branding and collaborations with Chicago-based artists on branding initiatives and on-site art installations. Patwin further specifies, “building names are inspired by Chicago’s creative pioneers, visual assets and logos are inspired by artistic works and commissioned pieces will be displayed throughout the development.”
For Nick Albertson, The Cooper Southbank project marks the photographer’s first time making commissioned work specifically for a commercial property. Alberston states that the Lendlease team was largely “hands off during the creative part of the process” and that they “trusted [his] instincts to make something that would complement the building.”
On the decision to partner with Albertson as the featured artist for The Cooper, Patwin says he believes Albertson’s work is “synergistic with the artistic themes of Southbank. In particular, the piece from his White Light series that hangs in The Cooper’s lobby has several characteristics that complement the architecture of the building and the interior spaces.” With each new building Lendlease opens in its Southbank development, the project team hopes to incorporate art and design that will “help tell the creative history of the site and surrounding neighborhood.”
For more information on Southbank, visit Lendlease.