New development plans revealed for former Chicago Spire site

The proposed 400 Lake Shore Dr. development consists of two towers rising at the former Chicago Spire site. Rendering courtesy of Related Midwest

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

The development plan for 400 Lake Shore Drive—a parcel of land originally slated for the ill-fated Chicago Spire—was revealed to a packed ballroom at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel on May 15.

Alderman Brendan Reilly and community group SOAR hosted representatives from developer Related Midwest, architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and engineering consultants Kimley-Horn and Associates, who detailed what the
alderman called an “ambitious” plan.

“This is one of the most prominent sites in the Chicago skyline,” Reilly told the crowd. “What you are going to see here tonight is a very ambitious proposal. There are a lot of moving parts that we are still negotiating as we speak.”

No longer a 2,000 foot spire, the new development will be designed by the firm behind iconic Chicago buildings like the John Hancock Center and the Willis Tower.

The design will include a pair of residential towers that are staggered in height— the tallest topping out at 1,100 feet and its counterpart at 850 feet. They will be offset from each other and angle outwards to open up as the river empties into Lake Michigan. Fronted with terracotta, they will echo elegant, older buildings like the Wrigley.

“You look at it from the lake and you see these two forms … opening up as a gateway to the city,” said David Childs, the consulting design partner at SOM. A large courtyard will sit between the two.

The taller building will consist of condos and a boutique hotel on the lower levels, and the shorter building, containing rental units, will be flanked by a pair of pedestrian pathways which will allow access to DuSable Park.

Related Midwest’s proposal promises to build a long awaited park in the area and dedicate $10 million to the endeavor. They hope to complete this part of the project after the buildings are finished, since the park plot will be used as a staging area during construction.

Further community benefits in the proposal include the completion of Founder’s Way and the Ogden Slip walkway, and roughly five acres of new, public green space throughout the development. The developer will also pledge $2.67 million dollars for the creation of affordable housing.

Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest, expressed gratitude for the community’s cooperation with the project. “All of you showing up tonight, thank you,” Bailey said, “This process makes the project better and makes us better.”

Reilly encouraged his constituents to contact him with questions or concerns. His office plans on sorting through residents’ feedback over the next few weeks before negotiations begin.

Email the 42nd Ward office at office@ward42chicago.com or call (312) 642-4242.

Published June 4, 2018

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