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 or call (312) 642-4242.

Published June 4, 2018

Why the $500–850K home in New Eastside may be more valuable than you realize

By Urban Real Estate

For many years in the Near North Side and our New Eastside neighborhood, renovation options included constructing features like smarter floor plans and adding standard in-unit conveniences like washer and dryers. Some residences offered better outdoor space, along with finishes that were reasonable and didn’t break the bank.

Of course, most were in a more affordable price bracket than they are today.

“Today’s future of new construction takes luxury, posh appointments and in-building amenities to a whole new level, making some of the entry units of soon-to-be-delivered homes in new buildings such as the Vista start well in the $1 million range,” said Michael Emery, a senior partner at Urban Real Estate.

“It’s exciting, and increases the value of all our homes, however it does make the $500–850K market more desirable than ever before, as it is a price-point for a larger unit that is becoming a rarity in our neighborhood.”

If you are looking to sell a home within this price range, consider what you own as a treasure that will be hard for buyers to find anywhere else. A two bedroom within this range is a true gem and a rarity as time progresses. If you’re in the process of searching for a new home, this year may be an ideal time to think about your next move and garner top dollar for your property.

“We recommend clients meet with their realtor early in the process, and create a list of ‘what’s necessary’ in terms of updates and renovation, versus ‘what isn’t’ and potentially, where a credit can be issued to a buyer when that time comes,” said Emery. “It helps homeowners prioritize their dollars and resources, and could eliminate headaches for improvements that may be avoidable.”

Today’s real estate opportunities are endless, and with great representation, can be prosperous for both the seller and buyer alike.

Contact Urban Real Estate at (312) 528-9200 or visit

Published June 4, 2018

What does this summer market mean for you?

By Urban Real Estate

Whether you’re buying or selling property, the robust summer real estate market makes this upcoming selling season a unique opportunity for those on the fence about entering the market. In April, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a climb of 1.1 percent in existing-home sales. However even with this increase, overall property sales are lagging as home prices continue to climb, putting pressure on what prospective buyers are
able to afford.

So, where does this put you as a buyer or seller? “Well, if you’re considering selling, there is a continued shortage of homes on the market, and yes, buyers will pay top dollar, and often more than list, for a home that is priced compellingly,” said Michael Emery, senior partner at Urban Real Estate. “Now is a great time for anyone contemplating a sale of an investment property, or one who is seeking their next home to sell. A great strategy can make you money on your purchase and
your sale.”

If you’re a renter or are interested in making your first purchase, working with a real estate broker and lender can help get your “credit house” in order. “There is nothing more important than working with a broker to assess what you are hoping to accomplish, what you can afford and work with a team to help you realize those goals. Often, that preparation makes for a perfect parlay when shopping. Buyers can make an offer with confidence and a plan,” Emery adds.

At the New Eastside’s Urban Real Estate, brokers are available for a consultation any time to help you determine what your home’s value is, help walk you through planning for your next transaction, and protecting the greatest investment you will make. For more, drop by the Urban Real Estate office at 400 E. Randolph St., visit or call (312) 528-9200.

Published May 3.