Whole Foods Lincoln Park Flagship Store, 1500 North Kingsbury Street
CRM Properties Group, Whole Foods Market, Inc.
Whole Foods’ Lincoln Park “flagship” store is located between Kingsbury Street and the North Branch of the Chicago River. Due to its location, entitlements were developed through the Planned Development (PD) process, with scrutiny from various departments of the City of Chicago as well as Friends of the Chicago River and community groups. Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. (WLA) was the project landscape architect with responsibility for all site and landscape development, including the riverwalk, a role for which WLA was particularly well qualified as the author of the Chicago River Corridor Development Plan and Urban Design Guidelines, adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission in 2001 as “guiding policy” for river PDs.
The building is set back 30 feet from the river’s edge and has three principal elements: 1) a paved multi-use trail adjacent to the river, 2) a landscaped slope between the multi-use trail and the higher building elevation, and 3) treatment of the river façade of the building as a principal façade, not a “back side,” and development of a GreenScreen (vine support structure) on the building that supports climbing vines with seasonal interest.
The riverwalk is a paved promenade with seating, railing at the water’s edge, and furnishings. The landscaped bank uses mostly native species, to recall the once natural condition of the river and to stabilize the slope. The GreenScreen on the river façade of the building is the landscape “differentiator” because of its 32 foot height, 366 foot length, and the mix of climbing vines including American bittersweet, sweet autumn clematis, virgin’s bower, Boston ivy, and Virginia creeper.
WLA was involved with the project from the PD phase through construction. The project was completed in 2009, received a “Silver Ribbon Award” from Friends of the Chicago River in 2010, and after several years of growth was named the “Green Wall of the Year” in 2014 by Cities Alive.