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Photos: A Glamorous Dorm For Grownups Is Coming To The South Loop

By Mae Rice in News on May 10, 2016 6:12PM

Rendering of an outdoor terrace at 30 East (Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

A new South Loop development will blend the convenience and community of dorm life with the luxury of a hotel or urban castle. It's geared towards "students and millennials," according to developer Gilbane, and it will be ready for tenants in August of 2017.

Located at 30 E. Balbo Ave., the 16-story building, called 30 East, will lease out its 134 furnished units—ranging from studios to four-bedrooms—by the bed. So, as in a dorm, if your roommate moves out it's not your problem; it's management's. That's not the only parallel between 30 East and a college dorm. The building will also offer roommate-matching services; bedrooms pre-furnished with beds and mattresses, chests of drawers and desks; and a "[r]obust community life program"—think cookouts and Waffle Wednesdays.

However, 30 East will also have amenities you don't find in a normal dorm. Every bedroom has a private bathroom, even in multi-bedroom units. Every lease covers an in-unit flat-screen TV (a 40-incher, according to Tribune) and an in-unit washer and dryer. Every resident gets access to the in-house fitness center and "outdoor terraces" with fire pits and outdoor TVs, like the one pictured above.

So it's not quite a dorm, not quite an apartment complex. Gilbane's Stephanie Handfield told Chicagoist that Gilbane terms the concept "all-inclusive living." Though fair housing laws prohibit Gilbane from turning away older residents, the whole idea was conceived with the younger set in mind, according to Handfield.

"We certainly gear it more towards... the urban, active lifestyles" of students and young professionals, Handfield said. "Maybe somebody who has their first job, and wants to remain living in the city." With literal study rooms, 30 East will be especially geared towards students though—which makes sense, since it's located near a variety of downtown campuses.

In total, 30 East will have 255 beds, distributed among five styles of apartments: studios, "convertible" units, and two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. The "convertible" units are for one person, but slightly larger than a studio, and residents will be able to separate the living space from the bedroom, Handfield explained.

Of course, the project is still a work in progress. It only fully got "underway" in January, according to Gilbane, and it won't be done for more than a year. Rents still haven't been decided on, and the building's leasing office won't open for a "couple of months," Handfield said.

However, a similar Gilbane development near Brown University—257 Thayer gives a sense of what's to come, Handfield said. There, Waffle Wednesdays are already a reality, and residents occasionally get free kale. No, we did not make that up.

See more renderings of the building, which will be designed by architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz, below.

Rendering of 30 East's exterior (Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

Rendering of a kitchen in a 30 East unit (Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

Rendering of a furnished bedroom in a 30 East unit (Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

Rendering of a game room and cafe at 30 East (Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

Rendering of a common space at 30 East (Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

[h/t Chicago Tribune]