In October 2014, Pepper Construction Company and James McHugh Construction Co. broke ground on MILA, Chicago’s newest 41-story luxury apartment building along the Magnificent Mile.
Events were held last month for the topping out of the highly anticipated skyscraper, just one year after its groundbreaking. Illinois Real Estate Journal caught up with Betsy Traczek, principal and head of management group at John Buck Company and a part of the project, who filled us in on what’s to come, what to expect, and latest updates on the development.
MILA, whose name derives from its location, (Mi)chigan and (La)ke, is developed through a joint venture of The John Buck Company, Partners Group, and Becker Ventures and designed by bKL Architecture with interior finishes by PKA.
Traczek said what’s made this a perfect location for MILA is that there’s been a great amount of activity in the location since the market resurgence and the area between Millennium Park and the Magnificent Mile now has a lot to offer.
“As we’ve seen the building go up, from the lower floors to the 41st floor, the views of the lake, Millennium Park, West of the City…far surpassed what we anticipated,” she added. “It’s a high-luxury feel where tenants are close to all the entertainment, museums and parks that the city has to offer.”
The property will feature 402 Class-A luxury apartments and 22,000 square feet of retail space on the first and second levels of the building. While all apartments are said to be completed by mid-August 2016, first move-ins will begin May 2016 with a phased turnover.
Tenants will have a selection of 12 different floor plans. Each of the units will be pre-wired with high-speed fiber optic internet to each residence and a keyless entry system, and will include gourmet kitchens with stainless steel appliances, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the city, and hardwood flooring throughout.
According to John Buck Company, MILA is one of the very few in the City of Chicago to provide high-speed fiber optic internet to each residence.
“What we’re doing is working with Comcast to make sure we’re looking at the data streaming needs and that people can work from home,” Traczek said. “We’re putting in the infrastructure for residents.”
The MILA management team has spent a lot of time arranging what kind of amenities and services they want the building to provide.
“From an amenity standpoint, we’ve really spent a lot of time with what we’ve done,” Traczek said. “We want to make sure they have amenity space and other services that make their lives as easy as can be. Simplified as possible so we can provide services for relaxation and what makes it easier.”
In addition to the distinctive services such as an on-site concierge and hospitality benefits that include maid service, 24/7 room service, and valet dry cleaning that MILA will provide, Traczek said other services include on-site parking with tune-up and repair areas.
The building will also have a bike storage facility, and a fitness center with a yoga studio and state-of-the-art cardio and weight training equipment.
Because MILA is a pet-friendly building, it will offer pet services to accommodate the busy lives of its residents. Therefore, a pet salon, grooming station and a spacious outdoor dog run will be available.
“We are going to have a dog park so residents don’t have to go all the way down to the street,” Traczek explained.
One of the biggest amenities she said JBC is particularly excited for is the scenic rooftop pool and sundeck on the 41st floor, showcasing 360 degrees of spectacular city views. According to Traczek, MILA is one of the city’s only rental buildings with a rooftop pool deck.
In addition, there will be an outdoor garden terrace with BBQ grill stations, bocce ball courts, and fire pits on the 6th floor terrace.
“We’ve been thoughtful on how we’ve used this space and we’re seeing that people are renting longer and want these spaces and services,” Traczek explained. “We’ve really been seeing that trend in the marketplace especially with high-end luxury—providing as many amenities you can to people—and developers are filling those in.”
She added that it is really about going above and beyond on the services like concierge and package delivery and getting creative on ways that people are being taken care of.
Although the retail businesses occupying 22,000 square feet of space haven’t yet been disclosed, Traczek shared that they are in lease for three of the six spaces and hinted at what we can expect.
“One of them is West Coast-based food service that’s new to the Chicago market,” she explained. “It’s high-end, but high-end take-out or dining-in. Another is a fairly well-known chain that I think people are really excited about.”
As of this October, work is still being done to its interior. Developers have been installing curtain wall from the 20th floor and up.