Two-Tower 845 West Madison Project Breaks Ground

If you want to put a little “Opa!” in your life, a new mixed-use development is underway that may be just the flaming cheese your Greek alter ego craves.  845 West Madison broke ground recently on the Greektown-adjacent block where the H2O+ personal care products factory once stood, behind the Mariano’s.

Rendering of 845 West Madison (Courtesy of Lendlease)

Rendering of 845 West Madison (Courtesy of Lendlease)

It’s a two-tower GREC Architects design for Lendlease and The John Buck Company that will being 586 new residences to Chicago’s Near West Side.  Those homes will be in a pair of 17-story towers atop a podium with 10,000 square feet of retail space and a 278-space parking garage.

If you have a taste for something a little more personal, there will also be a baker’s dozen rental townhouses lining the two-story podium along South Peoria and West Monroe Streets — a significant improvement over the former industrial building’s blank facade, and a nice save from inflicting another parking garage directly on the neighborhood.

The units in this project are a little larger than most of the recent construction in the city.  There are no micro-apartments, studios, or convertibles.  It’s all one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes.  Move-ins are expected to start in 2020, which sounds far away, but is really just a year and two weeks off.

Left to right: Peter Palandjian, chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation; 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett; Chicago Building Commissioner Judy Frydland; Tom Weeks, executive general manager of development at Lendlease; and John Buck, chairman and CEO of The John Buck Company (Courtesy of Lendlease)

Left to right: Peter Palandjian, chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation; 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett; Chicago Building Commissioner Judy Frydland; Tom Weeks, executive general manager of development at Lendlease; and John Buck, chairman and CEO of The John Buck Company (Courtesy of Lendlease)

 

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/12/18/two-tower-845-west-madison-project-breaks-ground/

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This is What a 95-Story Skyscraper Does to Chicago’s Skyline

Chicago has one of the world’s great skylines.  And some of the things that make it great are the supertall buildings that punctuate it like the paper tape from a politician’s lie detector test.

You’ve known for years that the construction of Magellan Development’s Vista Tower would be a skyline-changing event.  Now just in time to impress your downstate relatives coming to visit for Christmas, we can really see tbe impact it’s having.

Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

The photos on this page were taken recently by Joe Zekas at YoChicago!, and like the Willis Tower, the Aon Center, and 875 North Michigan, it doesn’t disappear neatly into the skyline.  You can see from a number of different angles and locations that it is going to be a part of Chicago postcards for a very long time.

Enjoy!

Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/12/18/this-is-what-a-95-story-skyscraper-does-to-chicagos-skyline/

Aon Center Elevator Attraction Looks Like A Go

Late this week the Chicago Plan Commission is expected to vote on whether to allow the new owners of the Aon Center to clamp a glass elevator to the northwest corner of the city’s third-tallest building and put a thrill ride on the roof. If you’re not into that whole “waiting for stuff to happen” thing, here are some tea leaves for you to read:

It’s gonna happen.

Aon Center Observatory rendering

Aon Center Observatory elevator rendering

Aon Center Observatory logo

Just because the city hasn’t given you permission doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on a logo.  Or a web site.

How can we prognosticate in such an affirmative fashion?  Because of an e-mail that 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly sent out to his constituents. In the transmission, the downtown pol spells out the concessions that he got from 601W Companies, presumably to win his support.  Because, why else would they do it?  Not because they’ve got too much money and don’t know where to spend it.

With Mr. Reilly backing the project, that virtually guarantees that the Plan Commission will go along with it.  And then the full city council will go along with it because of the tradition that the other 49 aldermen always go along with whatever the alderman for the location in question wants.  It’s a custom that exists somewhere in the spectrum between “local alderman knows what’s best for his ward” and “never start a land war in Asia.”

So what are the spiffs that the Don of Downtown got from the Neighbors from New York?  A lot of it is the usual things that Reilly asks for: Better sidewalks, new planters, high-visibility crosswalks.  All things the city should have built years ago to serve its taxpayers, but this way they get done for free.

There are a few standouts, though:

  • Taxi, rideshare, school bus, tour bus loading zones.
  • The elevator shaft will no longer be illuminated, and the elevator cab can’t emit more light than the average Aon Center window.
  • If the city decides to landmark the Aon enter, the owners have to go along with it.

The Plan Commission meets on Thursday, December 20th.  After that, it goes to the Zoning committee in mid-January, then on to a vote before the full city council on January 23.  Until then, enjoy the following plethora of renderings and diagrams.  We put the renderings at the top because life’s too short to look at diagrams first.

Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory rendering
Aon Center Observatory diagram
Aon Center Observatory diagram
Aon Center Observatory diagram
Aon Center Observatory diagram
Aon Center Observatory diagram
Aon Center Observatory diagram
Aon Center Observatory diagram
Aon Center Observatory diagram

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/12/17/aon-center-elevator-attraction-looks-like-a-go/

What Friends of the Parks Sees for Chicago in 2019

It’s the time of year when everything useful has pretty much wrapped up, and all that’s left to do is balance the books and figure out who to blame for sticking you with rotisserie chicken-flavored candy canes as a Secret Santa present.

So looking ahead to next year, we asked a selection of Chicagoans what they expect 2019 to bring.  Here are five predictions from Juanita Irizzary, Executive Director of Friends of the Parks:

  1. Obama Presidential Center model (Courtesy of the Obama Foundation)

    Obama Presidential Center model (Courtesy of the Obama Foundation)

    The Obama Foundation decides that being a “good neighbor” includes committing to paying for a new baseball facility in Woodlawn, since they’re displacing a baseball field in Jackson Park; and a new field house in Jackson Park, since it will be unseemly to have a crumbling park building across from the new Obama Presidential Center recreational facility.

  2. Related Midwest and Alderman Reilly come to some agreement, and Chicago will finally set in motion a development on the old Spire Site that will lead to DuSable Park becoming a reality.
  3. Our next mayor makes sure that a deal gets done for former-USX site redevelopment such that Chicago finally gets on the path to full environmental clean-up, appropriate community and economic development for the long-neglected southeast side, and beautiful lake front and river front parks along that parcel, in alignment with Friends of the Parks’ Last 4 Miles Initiative vision.
  4. New mayoral and Chicago Park District leadership apply an equity framework to their park planning, like park leader Minneapolis already does, and we make good progress toward more equitable distribution of resources across the Chicago Park District.
  5. The Chicago Park District decides that it makes no sense for them not to accept into their public park portfolio the green spaces proposed at Lincoln Yards by Sterling Bay and The 78 by Related Midwest, now that both of those developers have publicly stated that rather than keep them as privately-owned public spaces, they are willing to give them to the park district AND pay for the maintenance.
Rendering of The 78's Education Hub and Riverwalk (Architecture firms: SOM and 3XN, rendering by ICON)

Rendering of The 78’s Education Hub and Riverwalk (Architecture firms: SOM and 3XN, rendering by ICON)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/12/17/what-friends-of-the-parks-sees-for-chicago-in-2019/

Heavy Lifting Puts CTA’s 95th Street Project On Track

The Chicago Transit Authority’s transformation of the 95th Street Red Line station is becoming visible to people who don’t even ride mass transit.

CTA 95th Street Terminal under construction (Photograph via CTA)

CTA 95th Street Terminal under construction (Photograph via CTA)

Officially, this is a “terminal,” not a “station” because it is the end of the line for passengers.  But hope springs eternal for the Red Line extension down to 130th street, now in its fourth decade of promises from the city’s politicians.

When trains do start rolling to the transit-parched half of the city, the passengers will delight in the refreshed 95th Street station, and the new pedestrian bridge installed last week.

CTA 95th Street Terminal under construction (Photograph via CTA)

CTA 95th Street Terminal under construction (Photograph via CTA)

In the photos from the CTA above and below, you can see that the structure was hoisted into place in three pieces, and now stretches 150 feet across 95th street.  If you want to do this at home, you’ll need a crane that can lift at least 73,000 pounds.  You might also want to let the neighbors know about it first.

That bridge will eventually connect the renovated north terminal building with the new south terminal building.  The idea is to give both CTA and Greyhound buses a lot more room to load and stage.  With 20,000 people using the facility each day, it’s badly needed.  Here’s a rendering to give you an idea of where CTA’s going with this:

Rendering of the CTA 95th Street Terminal (Photograph via CTA)

Rendering of the CTA 95th Street Terminal (Image via CTA)

If you don’t get to the south side much, you might think the red racing stripes are just the typical kind of creative blandishment we are used to seeing in architectural renderings.  But the good news is — the red is real.

That’s a CTA photo of the new south terminal, taken in April 2018.

CTA 95th Street Terminal (Photograph via CTA)

CTA 95th Street Terminal (Photograph via CTA)

When that photograph was taken, the CTA was still promising completion by the end of this year.  We haven’t heard anything different since then, and it’s not known if “completion” includes the pedestrian bridge, or just the new station buildings.

CTA 95th Street Terminal under construction (Photograph via CTA)
CTA 95th Street Terminal under construction (Photograph via CTA)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/12/10/heavy-lifting-puts-ctas-95th-street-project-on-track/

What Grows During a Chicago Winter? Skyscrapers!

We’re still months away from the triumphant, intrepid return of the tulips and daffodils in Chicago’s parks, parkways, and park-like medians.  But amid the gloom of day and threat of snow, the city is still able to raise a bumper crop of our favorite wintertime produce: skyscrapers.

For example, the concrete beanstalk sprouting at 110 North Wacker Drive, seen below in a photograph from Loop Spy Chris.

110 North Wacker under construction (Courtesy of Loop Spy Chris)

110 North Wacker under construction (Courtesy of Loop Spy Chris)

According to Goettsch Partners, the architecture firm that designed it, the core is now up to 67 feet tall. And if you wandered around the western edge of The Loop over the weekend, you got to see the crane being installed.

The crane will help this sprout realize its full potential as a 55-story-tall, 1.53 million square foot tower that Howard Hughes and Riverside Investment and Development describe as Chicago’s “last remaining Wacker Drive and riverfront address.”

Revised rendering of 110 North Wacker (via Riverside Investments and Development)

Savor the goodness.  Savor it!  (via Riverside Investments and Development)

If that’s not enough to hook you, enjoy the nifty animation below, ruthlessly pulled from the 110northwacker.com web site.

Not ours. We’re not awesome in this way.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/12/10/what-grows-best-during-a-chicago-winter-skyscrapers/

Details of Union Station Renovation Show Potential, Complexity

We’re learning more of the nitty-gritty details involved in the Union Station redevelopment recently approved by the City of Chicago.

Rendering of the September 2018 Union Station redevelopment

Rendering of the September 2018 Union Station redevelopment

A lot of it is just numbers and trivia, but a few things stand out.

  • The former Harvey House at Union Station will be renovated into a new entrance to the Great Hall from South Clinton Street.  But it will also have plenty of leasable retail space.  Hopefully this space will end up being another restaurant.  There is a huge Harvey House fan base out there. Several new books about the Fred Harvey Company were published recently.  And Harvey Houses at Los Angeles Union Station; Winslow, Arizona; and Las Vegas, New Mexico recently reopened.  We were at the one in Winslow a few weeks ago, and it’s really something special.  If you don’t know what a Harvey House is, you can start here to learn about this slice of America.
  • The city is transferring 425,202 square feet of F.A.R. from the Union Station head house to the block to the south so that the skyscraper can be built.  This should pretty much kill any notion that the office tower planned in the 1920’s will ever be built.
  • The city is selling the air rights above the Union Station Transit Center to Amtrak so that the hotel addition can be built above the Union Station head house.
  • If the pubic park starts to look shabby, blame Amtrak.  It’s responsible for maintenance and repair.  That includes keeping the plants healthy, keeping the park clean, and shoveling the snow.
  • The park must be open to the public from 6:00am to 11:00pm ever day, which is a little unusual.  Ordinarily the hours at these kinds of public/private parks are merely designated as mirroring the hours of the parks maintained by the Chicago Park District.  But this time the hours are quite specific.
  • No one can move in to the office tower until the park is finished.
  • If Amtrak doesn’t want to maintain the park, it can transfer it to another organization like a land conservancy.
  • The developers want to make changes to the Union Station Transit Center to integrate it better into the block it will soon share with a giant skyscraper.
  • New Union Station entrance on South Clinton Street.
  • New street-level retail along the Clinton Street facade.
  • The Amtrak Police station will be renovated.
  • The Metro Deli space will be renovated.
  • Hotel pick-up/drop-off on West Adams Street
  • Hotel A can be accessed from West Adams Street
  • Hotel B can be accessed from West Jackson Boulevard
  • Offices on levels three and four
  • Hotels will be on levels four through nine, with nine being a new floor
  • Walled up Clinton Street windows to be replaced with actual glass
Rendering of the June 2018 plan for Union Station

Rendering of the June 2018 plan for Union Station

And the promised gritty nitties:

  • Land owner: City of Chicago
  • Land owner: National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”)
  • Developer: RC Union Station Development Company, LLC
  • For realsies: Riverside Investment and Development and Convexity Properties
  • Architecture firm: SCB
  • Size: 251,499 square feet
  • Head house maximum retail space: 175,000 square feet
  • Skyscraper maximum office space: 1,500,000 square feet
  • New passenger pick-up and drop-off zones
  • West Adams Street bus lane becomes a traffic lane
  • Head house maximum height: 165 feet (Measured from Canal Street, not Clinton Street)
  • Head house roof height: 155 feet
  • Transit center maximum height: 40 feet
  • Skyscraper maximum height: 715 feet
  • Skyscraper roof height: 700 feet, four inches
  • Skyscraper floors: 50
  • Maximum number of hotel rooms: 400
  • Head house maximum automobile parking: 265 spaces
  • Skyscraper maximum automobile parking: 400 spaces
  • Head house minimum bicycle parking: 50 spaces
  • Skyscraper minimum bicycle parking: 50 spaces
  • Head house loading docks: 4
  • Skyscraper loading docks: 4

Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation
Diagram of the Chicago Union Station renovation

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/12/05/details-of-union-station-renovation-show-potential-complexity/