Lynd Development Partners has a long history of constructing mixed-use, multi­family apartment buildings in 51 metropolitan centers and 17 states. But the San Antonio–based real estate, development, and management company, a division of Lynd, had never built in Chicago, until a chance conversation led to a choice River North lot five years ago.

“We found there was a vacuum in the city’s higher-end apartment niche,” says A. David Lynd, president and chief operating officer of the second-generation firm, who knew the city from childhood summer vacations. “It was a condo market at that level, and most available rentals felt inexpensive.”

Lynd hired Chicago architectural firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates to design an upscale, 28-floor tower with 249 units, three levels of enclosed parking, two outdoor living areas, three retail levels, and a glass façade to take advantage of the water and skyline views.

“There was another luxurious rental nearby, but we wanted this to have an unprecedented level of finish to attract young professionals—and others—with significant disposable income. We saw the rapidly growing trend of renters demanding more,” says Lynd, who named the building EnV to provoke envy of its upscale amenities, finishes, and sustainability.

Architect Stephen Droll envisioned the building as an opportunity to develop a product that didn’t yet exist, “whether it was the lobby, a party room, the units, LEED certification, or its location next to an L-train.”

The property has a South Beach–meets–Chicago Modernist vibe, with features such as a fitness room, outdoor barbecue/grill area, and 25-foot-long, LED-lighted pool. Key amenities are located on the top floor so that residents can savor the views.

“This is a lifestyle-driven building, and we’ve tried to educate renters as to what that means. We hold cooking classes, wine tastings, fashion shows,” Lynd says.

On the seventh floor, a smaller patio includes a fire pit and a dog run. Chicago-based Wolff Landscape Architecture planted outdoor areas that require no irrigation, including sedum for the green roof.

All units have 9-foot-high ceilings with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and acoustic-rated glass on the west side because of nearby trains, plus exposed ductwork, bamboo floors, and granite countertops.

In early February, Lynd pegged rents at EnV as “the highest in the city for Class A apartments.” The units range from 596-square-foot studios, averaging $1,800 a month, to two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 2,100-square-foot penthouses that run $7,000 a month.

Since the building opened in late July, half of the units have been leased.