Ordinarily, we love old buildings. It took a while for us to develop an appreciation for the Mid-century Modern aesthetic, and even certain brutalist forms are starting to seem less tacky these days. But when demolition permits were issued for the dump-o-riffic diner building on the corner of North and Clark across from the Chicago History Museum, not a tear dropped on our battle-scarred MacBook Air’s keyboard.
And that’s good because what’s replacing it is pretty spiffy.
Fifteen Fifty on the Park joins other recent Chicago buildings “on the park,” including 340 on the Park, Legacy on the Park, Heritage on the Park, and Essex on the Park. Except this time, the “park” is Lincoln Park, not Grant Park.
As Fifteen Fifty replaces the diner, it saves the face of the old Village Theater. The public couldn’t go in the theater anyway, so nothing has been lost. In the rendering above from SCB, you can see how the street will benefit from a revitalized historic facade to complement the Germania Building next door, which is the bee’s knees.
When completed later this year, 1550 will have 32 new homes, ranging from $1.5 million for 2,300 square feet to $5.85 million for 4,500 square feet.
Standout features include the balconies. Almost every unit has one, and the developers claim that some will be larger than a house’s backyard.
You know we live in interesting times when news of a 76-story skyscraper moving forward is the second biggest news of the week. That’s where we are now with One Chicago Square (740 North State Street).
One Chicago Square is envisioned as a 76-story-tall tower, and a 49-story-tall tower perched atop a retail and parking podium. It was designed by Goettsch Partners and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture. If you’re the sort of person who keeps track of building heights (and we know you are), the most recent paperwork filed with the City of Chicago has the smaller of the two towers at 654 feet tall, and the taller at 1,011 feet, two inches tall.
If you wonder how much something like this costs, Crain’s says JDL is splashing out over $850 million. That kind of money would have bought you a half-dozen Boeing 737 MAX-8 jumbo jets last week. This week, you have a little more negotiating power.
Two weeks ago we told you that there were once again plans to deck over the Metra railroad tracks that carve through the east side of the South Loop and put up a new neighborhood. Now we know it will be called One Central, and we know it will be huge.
Landmark Development unveiled its proposal at a public meeting tonight. It will rival The 78, Lincoln Yards, 700 At The River, and what used to be Riverline in both scale and ambition. It envisions office buildings, apartments, condominiums, hotels, shopping, and entertainment venues all within shouting distance of some of the city’s biggest attractions.
The development designed by Perkins + Will includes nearly a dozen towers running north-to-south between McFetridge Drive and McCormick Place. The focal point is a pair of brawny skyscrapers reminiscent of both the Willis Tower and 875 North Michigan, joined by a skybridge up high, and an intermodal station below, linking Amtrak, Metra, and a new spur of the CTA Orange Line. There’s also the notion of using the below-grade bus shuttle route that runs between McCormick Place and the Illinois Center for public transit.
While it’s a stunning plan, sadly, details are lacking. We don’t have many hard numbers to work with about size, height, and scale. But an educated guess and a bunch of pixel counting puts it the tallest tower a little over 80 stories.
Until firm numbers can be nailed down, enjoy the renderings.
If you love eating in Chicago’s Restaurant Row, you may soon get a chance to sleep there, too. A New York developer wants to build a 23-story hotel tower between the city’s beloved Alhambra Palace restaurant, and extremely competent food, wine and music joint, City Winery.
1234 West Randolph would be a skosh over 304 feet tall with 289 rooms, and both a pool and a bar on the roof. If you want to sleep there, get a Lyft or take a bicycle because there’s only four parking spaces planned.
Five years ago, if you looked at a map of Streeterville and thought that there wasn’t any place left in the neighborhoods for a really dramatic skyline-busting residential tower, a lot of people would have nodded in agreement. But that was before Related Midwest took the vacant lot behind its ward, 500 Lake Shore Drive, and paired it with the under-realized park next door to redefine the core of this quarter of Chicago.
One Bennett Park is the product of that vision — a 70-story Lake Michigan lighthouse that that embraces classical style without feeling contrived, and adds to the Streeterville neighborhood through its stately styling above, and the rehabilitation of Bennett Park below.
The building’s design came out of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the first New York architecture firm other than SOM to alter Chicago’s skyline in a long time.
Its Gotham pedigree is visible from the get-go, standing out in a forest of recent local designs that all seem distilled from the same value engineering formula. But this New Yorker is downtown, not Broadway. Clearly it’s here to work with the other buildings of Chicago to add to the Windy City’s architectural menagerie. The fact that it stands taller than its neighbors is largely because it wears a fancier hat.
The ground floor is on the ground, and contains individual double-height lobbies serving the 279 apartments and the 69 condominiums. The condo side of things also connects to a private motor court with complimentary valet service, so not only do you not have to ride CTA, you don’t even have to park your own car.
The third and fourth floors are amenity space. The fourth floor also contains apartments, which run up to the 39th floor with 279 units. There are more amenities on 41, and condos start on that level, then continue up to 66.
The condos start where most Chicago condos max out: at two bedrooms for two million dollars. They run up to four bedrooms at a price that made by TRS-80 start to smolder.
Stand-out features include a children’s play room, a tween room, and a 60-foot pool in a city where skyscraper “pools” are often dwarfed by grandmother’s stock pots.
But the best amenity is the 1.7 acre park immediately adjacent. It’s been re-done by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Based on its work with Maggie Daley Park and The 606, this should be one mean green.
The park opens to the public this summer, which is good news. But there is a line in the press release about this park that is worrying: “Residents will have 24-hour access to Bennett Park.” Does this mean that the public will be kicked out after Chicago Park District hours? Will there be security guards checking ID’s to make sure the plebs don’t scrunch their toes in the dew of the early morning before 1 Bennett Park people can throw down their yoga mats? Will toddlers be turned away because their diapers came from the wrong ZIP code? Inquiring minds want to know.
There’s an expression the kids used to use that goes, “Save the drama for your mama.” Chicago City Hall must have been full of mothers today when city council’s Zoning committee voted to approve the $6 billion Lincoln Yards project.
The bottom line is that in a nine to four decision, Lincoln Yards is moving forward.
The next step is city council’s Finance committee, which meets on Monday. It will decide if Lincoln Yards will get the benefits of the largest TIF in Chicago history.
Between now and then, expect a lot of angry people to try to get a lot of face time in front of TV cameras. At this point they probably can’t stop Lincoln Yards from becoming a reality, but in the Chicago tradition, they will at least try to take a lead pipe to its kneecaps as it walks down the dark alley that is City Hall.
It’s long been the goal of Chicago city planners to wall in I-90/94 through downtown in order to keep its noise, pollution, and bad vibes out of Chicago’s neighborhoods. We’ve seen a lot of progress toward that goal in the last decade. Now another skyscraper is going to help out.
800 West Fulton Market is expected to be a 19-story office building from Thor Equities on the northwest corner of Fulton and Halsted. The eastern portion of the block is zoned C2-5, and the western half is DX-5, so it’s not yet known if this building will take up the full block, or just part of it.
800 will sit on the other side of North Halsted Street from 740 West Fulton, one of the pioneering condo towers in the neighborhood. Though 740 actually sits on the Kennedy at the entrance to Hubbard’s Cave, 800 will play backup interference, helping deaden stray noises from the highway the way shag carpeting is stapled to the walls of craptastic small-town radio studios in rural Wisconsin.
This is actually Thor’s third time swinging its hammer at this block. At one time it was going to put up a modest four-story office building on this corner. Then four months ago it filed paperwork with the city for an 18-story piece of awesomeness designed by SOM. With any luck, what Thor is on about now is a descendant of that SOM design.
If the idea of another office tower in West Town make you all tingly in your happy bits, 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett and the West Loop Community Organization are holding a meeting about it next Tuesday, March 12th. It’s at 6:00pm at Catalyst Ranch (656 West Randolph Street). Be there, or be a regular quadrilateral.