NEMA Chicago and NEMA Boston, two newly-built sleek panoramic towers, are slated to open in 2019 with prominent architectural pedigrees and premium amenities rarely associated with rental properties.
Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects and developed by Crescent Heights, NEMA Chicago soars 76 stories high, billed as the Windy City’s tallest residential rental tower—a striking urban landscape addition that frames Grant Park like architectural landmarks Aon Center and Willis Tower. The building flaunts a stacked, three-square structural bay design—a base podium, a tail-formed center massing, and stair-stepped rooftop terraces.
“Rafael Viñoly Architects has crafted a structure that pays homage to [architect] Daniel Burnham’s rational urban plan for Chicago,” says Sophia Chan, Crescent Heights’ vice president of design.
“Each section allows residents unsurpassed views—the lower section offers north and east views while the middle section provides eastern, southern, northern and western exposures. The top section garners residents the largest floor plans in the building [with] access to private roof-top terraces.”
NEMA Chicago features “synergized” interiors (with indoor-outdoor access) by Rockwell Group and Crescent Heights’ in-house team, as well as 70,000 square feet of resident-only amenities, on-site services, cityscape views, co-working sectors, and lush outdoor spaces with resilient plants.
Public spaces are flexible. There’s an outdoor pool deck, which has shady trees, firepits, barbecues and tables where residents can lounge or work on a laptop. Even dining areas can accommodate business and co-working for meeting and socializing.
The top floors feature: Skyline Amenities and Skyline Terrace, the outdoor Grant Park and Lake Michigan viewing perch (48th floor); a health and wellness facility with basketball, squash, yoga and a regulation-size boxing ring (14th floor); a multi-purpose activity sector (16th floor) with exposed kitchen, swimming pool, game room, kids room; and an upscale private dining ballroom.
Cozy lobbies are welcoming via fireplaces and warm-toned interior finishes—wood, tile, stone which imbue hospitality and comfort.
Local artist installations greet residents with humor and authenticity—an oversized Cubby Bear by working spaces (16th Floor) and artist Thomas Tropsch’s brightly colored portraits in the lobby.
“In Chicago, given its harsh and long winters, residents need more indoor space for activities and gathering,” says Chan.
NEMA Chicago is scheduled to open with 800 units in May. Apartments range from studios (starting at $1,800/month) up to three bedrooms (starting at $6,790/month). Four bedrooms will also be available by request.
NEMA Boston pays tribute to both the city’s start-up culture and its nautical lineage. Touting hospitality, bespoke design and predictive service technology, NEMA Boston is a flagship residence in Boston’s seaport district—a vibrant, emerging community that’s become part of “New England’s 21st century innovation hub.”
NEMA Boston’s bow-shaped façade in modern gray and black tones celebrates the area’s nautical and industrial steel manufacturing heritage—a stark contrast to neighboring new properties constructed of green and orange glass. As a nod to the neighborhood’s importing and trade reputation, the building’s drive court serves as a virtual gateway, drawing visitors to its striking grid-like steel exterior.
NEMA Boston opens in August with 414 rental units spanning 21 floors, ranging from three-bedrooms to “innovation units” sustainably designed to achieve LEED certification. Prices have yet to be determined.
It features a rooftop terrace, game room, co-working conference space, Crescent Heights-designed interiors, and a private outdoor park. The architect is Stantec and Group One Partners is the developer.
Anchoring the district’s seaport theme, ocean wave LED art projection highlights the building’s exterior and entryway with movement. Tom Burr’s eclectic sculpture (crafted from metal parts) greets residents inside the lobby.
NEMA Boston includes fitness and social activity spaces (21st floor) with an outdoor theater, pool and barbecue. Named for a 1980s avant-garde music and art joint, The Channel Bar is a social scene, equipped with a DJ turntable, custom pendant lighting and wood ceiling. The “Creator’s Suite” (2nd floor) offers residents plug-ins, desks and tables to work or Internet surf.
“For Boston, given the increased number of startup and financial companies, residents need a substantial number of break-out and conference room spaces that are fully wired and technologically equipped,” Chan says.
Like Urby and Yotel, NEMA offers apartment living infused with transportation, culture and a lifestyle that’s reflective of these housing-starved urban centers—albeit in more upscale form.
NEMA rentals are primarily leased for one year, but some monthly rentals are available via fully-furnished suites. Both projects follow NEMA San Francisco, which opened in 2014 with 754 units.
Crescent Heights tailors NEMA amenities specifically for each neighborhood to meet tenants’ “anticipated needs and lifestyle,” says Chan, who oversaw all three projects, including public spaces, amenities, exterior gardens and interiors.
“Crescent Heights prides itself on out-of-the-box thinking,” she says. “The objective for residents is to think of home not only as a sanctuary, but also as a comprehensive space for working, convening, working out and trying new things—as opposed to having to leave to seek out unique experiences.”