Everybody gets a roof deck: Fulton Market goes from Oprah to office mecca

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We’ve all seen it before. The meatpacking plant becomes the pioneering coffee shop becomes the hippest new neighborhood on the fringe. With 54 percent of the world’s population now living in urban areas and one million more moving to cities each week, the demand is there for these once-neglected submarkets to become cities’ greatest assets. For a prime local example, look no further than Fulton Market.

Fulton Market

Unlike the sleepy, 9-to-5 CBD and over-saturated River North and West Loop submarkets, Fulton Market offers off-the-beaten-path edge just minutes from downtown and is beginning to host an ever-widening array of uses. How did it all start? As one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things.”

A former ghost town save for Harpo Studios and mom-and-pop meatpacking operations, Fulton Market’s dining scene on Randolph Street (Restaurant Row) first pulled this fringe district from the shadows. The addition of transit via the reopened Morgan “L” stop sent more foodies flocking in 2012, followed by the redevelopment of a 1900s-era rubber seal manufacturing facility into the elite and boutique Soho House in the fall of 2014, proving the adaptive reuse potential of local building stock.

After moving from the Bay Area to the Windy City last year, our Research Manager Hailey Harrington accurately predicted that Fulton Market would evolve more than any other submarket over the past 12 months.

“I saw it happen in San Francisco and Oakland. Even with the growth it’s already seen, Fulton Market has untapped potential. We expect the submarket to see a healthy amount of new inventory and serve as a critical linkage between the North Side and the burgeoning neighborhood around the Old Main Post Office,” said Harrington.

One of the biggest and most recent catalysts of area development was the January 2016 opening of Sterling Bay’s 1K Fulton, a converted cold storage facility and Google’s new regional headquarters. Going above and beyond the coveted roof deck and LEED Gold certification, it’s also the first WELL-certified commercial building in the Midwest, raising the bar for health and wellness in the workplace.

Additional revitalization projects underway—Fulton West, the Ace Hotel and Randolph West, to name a few—mean deliveries show no signs of slowing in the next 24 months as Fulton Market transitions from fringe to front and center.

Read our entire 2017 Fringe Market report here.

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