A Crane Hatches at Wolf Point East

It was just a couple of days ago that River North Spy Chris sent us photos of crane parts being delivered to Wolf Point.  Now… Bam!  We have achieved crane!

Crane at Wolf Point East (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)

Crane at Wolf Point East (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)

Chris has sent in a new set of photos showing a legitimate, if diminutive, tower crane at the heart of the construction for the 628,500-square-foot Wolf Point East.

It won’t remain small for long.  Wolf Point East is expected to rise 668 feet over the Chicago River, becoming the second of three new towers on the spit of land at the confluence of the Chicago River’s main and north branches.

Rendering of Wolf Points West, South, and East (Courtesy of Hines)

Rendering of Wolf Points West, South, and East (Courtesy of Hines)

The building, designed by Connecticut’s Pelli Clarke Pelli with River North’s Pappageorge Haymes has architect of record), will add just short of 700 apartments and 200 parking spaces to the Wolf Point complex.  It also includes 3,500 square feet of retail space.

A third tower, also a PCP design, will go between this tower and bKL’s Wolf Point West, completed last year.  The whole project is being developed by Houston’s Hines, and the Kennedy family.

Crane at Wolf Point East (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)

Crane at Wolf Point East (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/18/a-crane-hatches-at-wolf-point-east/

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New Part of Chicago’s Flood Protection System Gets Its First Workout

Remember when it rained last week and all the snow began to melt?  You can thank a new bit of Chicago’s deep tunnel system for keeping that mess out of your basement.

McCook Reservoir getting its first drink (Courtesy of MWRD)

McCook Reservoir getting its first drink (Courtesy of MWRD)

For the first time, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District used its McCook Reservoir in southwest suburban Hodgkins to slurp up excess runoff until it could be treated and flushed down Saint Lous way.

When fully complete, McCook will have a total capacity of 10 billion gallons of water.  Last Thursday it ate 263 million.  It’s expected to save Chicagoland $114 million in flood damage each year.

More deets after the pictures.

McCook Reservoir getting its first drink (Courtesy of MWRD)
McCook Reservoir getting its first drink (Courtesy of MWRD)

First fill: Water unleashed into McCook Reservoir for first time
January rains set reservoir into service to mitigate flooding and protect waterways from pollution

Stage I of the McCook Reservoir began taking water for the first time after rainy conditions during an unusually warm January 11. The water will flow by tunnel to MWRD treatment plants to be treated and cleaned when the plant has capacity.

For the first time, water came gushing into the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD’s) McCook Reservoir Thursday, demonstrating a fully functioning system designed to prevent polluted water from entering local waterways and mitigate area flooding.

The reservoir started to take on water at approximately 9:30 a.m. from the Mainstream Tunnel System just minutes after the gates were opened from the tunnel. The initial inflow of water entering the reservoir was 263 million gallons of water, accounting for mainly rain water and snowmelt. With forecasts calling for additional rain, more water was expected throughout the day.

The reservoir will contain water that formerly flowed directly into area waterways before it could be treated and cleaned. This stored water in the reservoir will be pumped from the reservoir to the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant to be cleaned and released when the treatment plant has capacity to treat the water after significant rain events.

“Yesterday’s initial flow of water may only climb up a small portion of the sprawling 300-foot walls of the reservoir, but this first fill reveals a working system that will protect our waterways from untreated water and our streets and basements from flooding,” said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos.

Stage I of the McCook Reservoir can hold 3.5 billion gallons of storage capacity and will protect residents of Chicago and 36 suburban communities from flooding. It will provide an estimated $114 million per year in flood reduction benefits.

Funded by the MWRD and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, McCook Reservoir is located along the Stevenson Expressway between the Des Plaines River and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. It is part of the MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), one of the country’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control. TARP covers a 375-mile area that includes Chicago and 51 suburbs that rely on a combined collection system that conveys both stormwater and used water.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/18/new-part-of-chicagos-flood-protection-system-gets-its-first-workout/

Design of bKL’s Second GEMS Academy Building Gets Refined

It looks like it’s full steam ahead for the second GEMS Academy school in Lakeshore East.  As soon as Old Man Winter gives us a break.

The building planned for 355 East Wacker Drive, now going by the name GEMS World Academy Chicago Middle-Upper School, already has its caissons in place under the lakefront loam.  Word is that foundation permits are expected to be issued within the next two weeks.  Then, once winter abates a little bit, hard-core concrete work can begin.

bKL Architecture, the boffins behind the design, have produced new renderings of the building which show some interesting details.

Rendering of the new GEMS World Academy Chicago Middle-Upper School (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Rendering of the new GEMS World Academy Chicago Middle-Upper School (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Thomas Kerwin, Founding Principal at bKL, has been the guiding hand for both buildings.

The GEMS Lower School building has received numerous awards and recognition.

Even though the first building is still a recent addition to the educational building landscape, GEMS and bKL are not resting on the success of that project alone.

We are working to ensure that the new Middle/Upper School embodies state-of-the-art and forward-thinking learning environments. This, combined with such a prominent site, should make this new school a very special place.

Rendering of the new GEMS building, showing the stairway to Lower Wacker, and the bridge to the front entrance. (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Rendering of the new GEMS building, showing the stairway to Lower Wacker, and the bridge to the front entrance. (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Immediately noticeable is that the building has been pulled back from the Wacker Drive lot line a little bit.  The grand entrance remains as tall and airy as ever, but instead of a simple set of stairs to ascend into the lobby, students will cross what appears to be a small bridge.

Rendering of the new GEMS building, showing the building setback from Wacker Drive (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Rendering of the new GEMS building, showing the building setback from Wacker Drive (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

That happens because with the building pulled back, bKL didn’t just deck over the empty space.  It’s  actually open to the ground below, and surrounded by a glass railing.  On the right side of the building, a staircase has been slotted in to the newly empty space, giving students who live nearby an easier route to the heart of Lakeshore East.

The void also allows the viewer to see more of the building’s signature color panel facade.  Unlike neighboring buildings like the Swissotel, it appears the new GEMS building will continue its colorful contribution all the way down to the ground, instead of presenting people on the lower levels of Wacker Drive with a blank concrete wall, or ventilation outlets, or both.  It’s about as neighborhood-friendly as it can be.

Rendering of the new GEMS World Academy Chicago Middle-Upper School (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Rendering of the new GEMS World Academy Chicago Middle-Upper School (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

The new renderings also show off the outdoor rooftop common area, complete with trees.  Lots of schools in Chicago have rooftop space for the students.  None have this view of Navy Pier, the Streeterville skyline, and the Chicago River.  It’s the same view that people splash out a million dollars for to see from their condos.  It’s also a perfect launching pad for a mischievous middle-school paper airplane derby.  In the words of Robin Baumgarten, “I’m not sayin’.  I’m just sayin’.”

Rendering of the new GEMS building roof with new sign. (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Rendering of the new GEMS building roof with new sign. (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/17/design-of-bkls-second-gems-academy-building-gets-refined/

Another Historic Loop Office Building Goes Residential

Seven months after announcing that it wanted to sell its headquarters building, the City Colleges of Chicago has picked a buyer.  The 14-story office building at 226 West Jackson Boulevard will go to Zidan Management Group for $34.5 million.  It was one of 14 bids received for the mid-rise, designed by Frost and Granger, and completed in 1904.

226 West Jackson Boulevard

226 West Jackson Boulevard

The Indianapolis apartment management company plans to add the building to its portfolio of 5,000 apartments in the Midwest.  It has two other buildings in Chicago.

The sale is a cost-saving measure by City Colleges.  The headquarters building is more than half empty, and most of the administration will be stationed at various college campuses around the city.  Those that remain downtown will decamp for an office building at 180 North Wabash, across the street from Harold Washington College.

More details in the press release below.


City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees Votes to Authorize Sale of Headquarters Building

All City Colleges Staff Will Work at a College or in the Immediate Proximity By Summer

Chicago, IL – The City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees voted today to authorize the sale of the CCC downtown headquarters building at 226 W. Jackson. The offer of $34.5 million from Zidan Management Group was the highest among 14 offers received during a public bidding process. City Colleges of Chicago plans to relocate the majority of its administrative office staff to its colleges.

“The sale of City Colleges headquarters brings our staff closer to the students, faculty and other staff they serve and helps ensure we make efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado. “We are pleased with the offer and look forward to the opportunity it presents to rebuild our capital reserves and make future investments that enhance our students’ experience.”

CCC Chancellor Juan Salgado announced the proposed sale of the District’s headquarters building earlier this summer in a move intended to right size operations and shift more resources to its colleges located in Chicago neighborhoods. Moving administrative staff to CCC campuses around the city aligns with the Chancellor’s strategy to shift greater focus to the system’s seven colleges and five satellite sites while shoring up the district’s long-term financial health.

Two hundred City Colleges administrative staff will move to one of its college locations, with most going to Kennedy-King College in Englewood and Dawson Technical Institute in Bronzeville. Staff will also relocate to Truman College in Uptown, Malcolm X College on the Near West Side, and a smaller downtown office space at 180 N. Wabash, across from Harold Washington College.

City Colleges aims to close on the downtown headquarters building with Zidan Management Group by the end of its FY18 fiscal year this spring. The buyer, Indianapolis-based Zidan Management Group, intends to develop the building for use as multi-family apartments. The offer of $34.5 million equates to $146.85/gross square foot. No zoning, financial or environmental contingencies were included in the offer.

The Group has two other projects in Chicago: the completed rehab of Somerset Place Apartments, 5009 N. Sheridan Road, in the Uptown neighborhood, and Shoreline Apartments, 2231 E. 67th Street, in the South Shore neighborhood.

City Colleges of Chicago enlisted the services of a team led by Martin Stern of CBRE, Inc. to market and advise it on the sale of the property.

The 185,000-square foot classically-styled office building located at 226 W. Jackson just east of the Willis Tower, sits on 17,400 square feet at the Northeast corner of Jackson and Franklin and is zoned by the City of Chicago as “Downtown Core 16.”

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/17/another-historic-loop-office-building-goes-residential/

Wolf Point: Here Comes the Crane Again

It’s still the dead of winter in Chicago, but the next thing you know, daffodils will be shoving their yellow heads out of the dirt in Lincoln Park. Before that happens, a big yellow crane is going to rise from the dirt at Wolf Point.

Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)

Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)

River North Spy Chris slid the photo above into our tip line.  It shows a piece of a tower crane being delivered to the site of what will soon be Wolf Point East (313 West Wolf Point Plaza/326 North Orleans Street).  WPE is one of three towers that will eventually fill out Wolf Point.  bKL’s Wolf Point West is already completed.  The photo from Chris shows Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Wolf Point East underway.  Wolf Point South, by the same firm, will be the third and final tower in the trio.

The east tower will eventually rise to a height of 668 feet with 60 floors above ground, six floors below ground, and just short of 700 apartments.  It is expected to be completed next year.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/17/wolf-point-here-comes-the-crane-again/

Can’t Get Enough Wolf Point? bKL’s Got You Covered

One of Chicago’s most exciting ongoing developments is the decades-delayed kitting out of Wolf Point.  Skyscraper nerds from the West Loop to Waukegan have been watching Wolf in wonder as it slowly transforms from a surface parking lot into the residential and office hub of River North.

Screenshot of bKL's Wolf Point West video

Screenshot of bKL’s Wolf Point West video

While work is underway on Pelli Clark Pelli’s Wolf Point East, bKL’s Wolf Point West is the only tower of the three that has actually been completed.

To show off its achievement, the Loop architecture firm has put together a new video with lots of juicy quadcopter footage, while principal Tom Kerwin dishes about the project.

Video follows:

 

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/16/cant-get-enough-wolf-point-bkls-got-you-covered/

Change Brewing on North Michigan Avenue

Permits have been issued for the nearly $10 million transformation of the former Crate and Barrel flagship store on the Magnificent Mile into a new mega Starbucks.

Rendering of the proposed new flagship Starbucks store on Michigan Avenue (Courtesy of Starbucks)

Rendering of the proposed new flagship Starbucks store on Michigan Avenue (Courtesy of Starbucks)

INTERIOR & EXTERIOR ALTERATIONS (GROUND THROUGH 5TH FLOOR) FOR SHELL & CORE ONLY TO INCLUDE NEW ROOF DECK OF AN EXISTING FIVE (5) STORY MERCANTILE BUILDING AS PER PLANS.

The four-story building at 646 North Michigan Avenue opened in 1990, and it shaped like a (wait for it) crate, and a barrel.  It was one of a new generation of commercial buildings that helped transform the retail strip from genteel boutiques and minor department stores into the outdoor suburban chain store shopping mall it has become today.

Interestingly, the building’s transformation can be watched over by the very firm that designed it.  SBC’s offices are across the street and offer several windows looking down on 646.  SCB describes the structure’s impact more diplomatically than we can:

The Michigan Avenue facility became the model for over 40 SCB-designed Crate & Barrel stores across the United States. It also set an important precedent for stand-alone retail stores on Chicago’s renowned retail thoroughfare, altering its character to become more pedestrian friendly and paving the way for contemporary imitators.

646’s sensitivity to scale, and local ownership elevated it ever-so-slightly above the scrutiny that subsequent developments would receive.

The Crate and Barrel flagship store as seen from the offices of SCB.

The Crate and Barrel flagship store as seen from the offices of SCB.

The new 43,000-square-foot Starbucks store will actually be across the street from a Starbucks that was demolished in the mid-2000’s to make way for the Ritz-Carlton Residences (664 North Michigan Avenue).  It is one of the serial caffeinator’s new Rostery-style stores, which means that coffee beans will actually be roasted and packaged on-site.  Certainly an improvement over the usual smell of Chicago’s side streets.

That smell is an integral part of the store experience.  The new reality of Magnificent Mile stores that “get it” is that this location is not about selling.  It’s about branding.  The flagship stores of brands like AT&T, Verizon, and Underarmor aren’t about ringing up receipts. They’re three-dimensional, immersive, full-sensory advertisements for their brands.  You can’t put up a billboard to reach the multitude on North Michigan Avenue, but you can put in a pop-up shop that goes beyond visual stimulation.  Companies pushing everything from phones to pizza have done this on Michigan Avenue over the last 15 years. It gets the brand in your brain through touch, smell, and occasionally even taste. (Nokia was the first in pop-up format, though it could be argued that Apple’s former flagship was the originator of the concept.)

Starbucks has a long history in Chicago, occasionally trying out new store concepts and even new beverages in the Windy City.  As the Seattle company notes, “Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. From the glamorous Gold Coast to the museums of the Magnificent Mile.”  If anyone has a city map from the defunct Mag Mile Rand McNally Store, feel free to send it to Raintown.

 

 

 

 

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/16/change-brewing-on-north-michigan-avenue/