Paw Prints and Crane Bits Signal Serious Work at Wolf Point East

Construction crews are wasting no time turning a dusty patch of River North into downtown Chicago’s newest enclave-in-the-sky.

Bulldozers snapped into action just days after the initial construction permits for Wolf Point East were approved late last month.  Now, two weeks into earth moving, the first segments of what looks like a crane have been delivered to the site in front of River North Point, the home of the Sun-Times and Holiday Inn.

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 caught the action on camera and tipped our line.  It’s not clear if the crane segments are part of a tower crane, or a caisson drilling rig, a crane-like apparatus for building a tower crane, or some other mischief.

The 60-story Pelli Clarke Pelli residential tower will eventually bring just short of 700 new homes to the point of the wolf, joining bKL’s Wolf Point West, the pioneer in this corner of the city.

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

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2017/07/14/paw-prints-and-crane-bits-signal-serious-work-at-wolf-point-east/

Developers Detail Big Big Big Plans for Lakeshore East

After weeks of anticipation, skyscraper nerds, architecture enthusiasts, and the just plain curious got the information they’ve been craving about how the development of Lakeshore East will end.  The answer: With an 875-foot-tall bang.

At a crowded public meeting at the Hyatt Regency, hosted by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, architects and developers took the wraps off of two major projects: The final three skyscrapers planned for the vacant northeast corner of the neighborhood, and Building O.

Rendering of Tower O (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Rendering of Tower O (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

You’ll remember Building O as a dagwood sandwich of a building proposed a few years ago to include two hotels, and residences, all sharing some common amenities.

That project is back, as a pair of towers filling the gap on North Columbus Drive between Aqua and 300 East Randolph Street.  In fact, the new Building O will share a driveway with Aqua.

The taller of the two O buildings clocks in at 55-stories tall — shorter than either of its neighbors, but nothing to sneeze at.  At one time that patch of loam was zoned for an approximately 90-story building, but some of that height was sacrificed to give the Vista Tower across the park a boost.

Building O is a project from Magellan Development (natch), and bunkmate bKL Architecture.  Building O is bKL’s second tower at Lakeshore East, after the Coast.  It also designed the widely-acclaimed GEMS World Academy, also at Lakeshore East.

But bKL’s not done yet.  Neither is Magellan.  The Hardy Boys have brought in Aussie cousin Lendlease to build out the Building I, Building J, Building K/L portion of Lakeshore East.

Rendering of Towers J and I (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Rendering of Towers J and I (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

That’s the part in the northeast corner, where there was once going to be four good-sized towers.  Now that’s become two good-sized towers and one landmark 80-story skyscraper, marking the entrance of the Chicago River from Lake Michigan.  All three will be anchored in a park-like setting, open to the public.

The 80-story building is expected to rise to 875 feet.  Its slender form and proximity to the water will make it seem even taller to passengers gliding by on waterborne architecture cruises.

The big question now is how will this monumental edifice relate to Related Midwest’s project just across the river.  If Related can put together another 80-story tower, it will create an architectural gateway that will flood social media with photographs for the next century.  If not… then it will be the biggest missed opportunity for Chicago since the city’s silent movie industry thought talkies were a fad, and let the motion picture industry move to Hollywood.

Altogether, the four new skyscrapers coming to Lakeshore East are a huge deal, sure to keep construction crews and the boffins at bKL busy for years to come. Huge enough that it’s a little surprising that Hizzonor wasn’t there to be part of the announcement.  He seems to have no problem showing up to announce one skyscraper here and there, but it’s been since the mid-80’s that four towers were announced simultaneously in a single development.

Much to the disappointment of some in the audience, the tallest building of the four — Tower I — will be the last to be built.

Rendering of Lake Shore Drive pedestrian underpass (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Rendering of Lake Shore Drive pedestrian underpass (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Also part of the project is — FINALLY — a real pedestrian connection to the lakefront.  Something that has been needed since the 1960’s.

These four skyscrapers will bring to a conclusion the multi-decade transformation of docklands and a rail yard into one of Chicago’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Or does it?

Overheard before the meeting was Alderman Reilly hinting that there is still a possibility for a public school to be built at Lakeshore East.  This is something that was on most of the early plans for the project, but evaporated from revised diagrams in recent years as Chicago Public Schools ran out of money.

With more and more people crowding into downtown Chicago, CPS may need to toss the couch cushions for change to meet the needs of Lakeshore East and Streeterville, where parents are already not happy with the distance their children have to commute to school.

Rendering of Tower I (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)
Rendering of Tower I (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)
Rendering of Towers I, J, K/L park area (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)
Rendering of Towers I, J, K/L park area (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)
Rendering of Towers K/L (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)
Rendering of Tower O (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)
Rendering of Tower O (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2017/07/11/developers-detail-big-big-big-plans-for-lakeshore-east/

Public-Private Partnership Shaping Up at 1328 West Taylor

We’re learning more about the various public-private partnerships that City of Chicago agencies are putting together in order to bring private housing and public services to some of the city’s neighborhoods.

Roosevelt Square Library (Courtesy of SOM)

Roosevelt Square Library (Courtesy of SOM)

At 1328 West Taylor Street in what’s left of Little Italy, paperwork recently filed with the city shows the Chicago Housing Authority is working with Related and Bickerdike Redevelopment to put up what’s being called the Roosevelt Square Library. Currently the property is a surface parking lot.  Before that it was the C.H.A.’s ABLA Homes.

New York architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which received worldwide acclaim for its recently completed Chinatown Library is the guiding vision for this building.  It describes the project thusly:

Activating the street while reflecting the scale and texture of the neighborhood, the buildings are set back and staggered across the site, creating a new public space while preserving the Taylor Street Gardens. Positioned prominently at the corner of the site, the Roosevelt Branch Library welcomes the community inside, with soaring open spaces designed for kids, teenagers, and adults located adjacent to centralized work spaces for librarians and staff. Upstairs, a landscaped public rooftop is envisioned as an outdoor reading room for use by the public and residents alike.

Overlooking the library and Taylor Street Gardens, residential units feature floor-to-ceiling windows that will create bright, daylit interiors. Indoor spaces were designed with a focus on communal living, providing shared areas on each floor, an open-concept central circulation staircase, and rooftop greenspace.

The lead architect is Brian Lee, who also headed up the Chinatown project. The new library will be roughly double the size of the one it’s replacing.

Since the city is involved, you can bet your Aunt Edna’s cobbler there’s affordable housing included.

  • Address: 1340 West Taylor Street
  • Address: 1328 West Taylor Street
  • Developer: Chicago Housing Authority
  • Developer: Related
  • Developer: Bickerdike Redevelopment
  • Architect: Brian Lee
  • Architecture firm: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • Floors: 7
  • Maximum height: 86 feet
  • Residences: 73
  • Library: 16,000 square feet
  • Auto parking spaces: 35

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2017/07/11/public-private-partnership-shaping-up-at-1328-west-taylor/

Essex on the Park Ready to Take Off

The latest skyscraper to change Chicago’s skyline has been given permission to take off.

Essex on the Park (808 South Michigan Avenue) has been given its papers and can now grow to its anticipated height of 620 feet, right across the street from Grant Park.

Rendering of Essex on the Park (Courtesy of Oxford Capital Group/Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture)

Rendering of Essex on the Park (Courtesy of Oxford Capital Group/Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture)

FULL BUILDING PERMIT (FOUNDATION PERMIT ISSUED UNDER 100684545) FOR A PROPOSED 56 STORY 479 DWELLING UNITS RESIDENTIAL BUILDING; 84 PARKING SPACES; GROUND FLOOR RETAIL; ALL AS PER PLANS

The Essex tower will not only add the above-mentioned residences to the South Loop, it comes with an extensive renovation and expansion of the old Essex Inn hotel, itself a Michigan Avenue icon.  The tower design is by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture for Oxford Capital and Quadrum Global.

 

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2017/07/07/essex-on-the-park-ready-to-take-off/

465 North Park Starting to Show Her Curves

There is a point in the construction of every skyscraper where it goes from amorphous chaos of dirt and rebar and transforms into something resembling its future self.  Like when a tadpole sprouts legs and starts to look more like a frog than a ‘wog.  Or when your 12-year-old daughter puts on her first formal dress, and as a father you’re both bursting with pride, and horrified at what might come next.

465 North Park under construction (Courtesy of Streeterville Spy Joel)

465 North Park under construction (Courtesy of Streeterville Spy Joel)

That cotillion moment has arrived for 465 North Park, the still blandly-named skyscraper that’s out of the ground, and rapidly gaining both height and glass along Illinois Street in Streeterville.

As you can see in the photo that Streeterville Spy Joel dropped into our tip box, 465’s curves are starting to show, and we’re starting to really get a sense of what Pappageorge Haymes had in mind when it put this one together for MetLife, Allstate, and Jupiter Realty.

From the air it’s possible to see how the tri-lobed form could be inspired by a flower.  We’ve heard real estate agents call it a “lotus,” though an iris or even a tuberose would be more accurate.  But lotuses are trendy among the sushi-eating classes, so we’ll let them have it.

Either way, we’re anxious to see this one start to make an impact on the neighborhood.  First, in its height because it’ll be a nice, glittery, curvy addition to an area often marred by density-maximizing, street grid-hugging, sun-eaters.

465 North Park under construction (Courtesy of Streeterville Spy Joel)

465 North Park under construction (Courtesy of Streeterville Spy Joel)

And second, we’re interested to see how the port-cochere works out, as it’s supposed to actually circle underneath the building’s amenity deck.   A few thousand casino-style lights embedded in the ceiling of that entryway might be just the thing to fight back the dankness of a Chicago winter.  Or if you’re really going for the wow factor, put a glass bottom in the pool, which will be located right above where people will be coming and going.  And we all know, globally speaking, that glass-bottomed pools are even more popular these days than lotus flowers.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2017/07/05/465-north-park-starting-to-show-her-curves/

Hines Makes it Official: Wolf Point East is Underway

Just 12 hours after we were the first to tell you that construction crews were busy starting work on Wolf Point East, the skyscraper’s Houston developer, Hines, made it official with a press release (below).

We were able to break the news for you thanks to Loop Spy Chris, who saw bulldozers, remembered our tip line, and did the right thing.

Wolf Point East is the second of three skyscrapers planned for the knob of land that juts into the Chicago River in the heart of downtown.  The Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed building will bring almost 700 new homes to River North.  Pappageorge Haymes is the architect of record.

 

Rendering of Wolf Point East (Courtesy of Hines)

Rendering of Wolf Point East (Courtesy of Hines)

HINES BREAKS GROUND ON WOLF POINT EAST IN CHICAGO

Construction Underway on Second Phase of Wolf Point Development

(CHICAGO) – Hines, the international real estate firm, announced today the start of construction on the 60-story, 698-unit Wolf Point East luxury apartment tower. Wolf Point East represents the second phase of the overall Wolf Point Master Plan, a three-phase development designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli located on one of the last remaining riverfront sites in Downtown Chicago.

Wolf Point East will offer permanent, protected views down the south and east legs of the Chicago River, refined unit layouts and interior design schemes and a market-leading mix of indoor amenities and dedicated outdoor spaces. The site offers immediate access to the Chicago River Walk and easy access to multiple transit options.

Hines is developing Wolf Point East in partnership with long-time land owner, the Joseph P. Kennedy Family, and the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust, advised by PNC Realty Investors.

“Our goal at Wolf Point has always been to create long-term value for Chicago and its residents. Wolf Point East furthers our investment in the City and contributes to the evolution of one of its most exciting amenities: the river,” commented Chris Kennedy.

Hines Senior Managing Director Jim Walsh added, “We continue to see intense demand for high-quality spaces in which to live, work and play along the Chicago River and we believe that Wolf Point East is well-positioned to satisfy the demands of Chicago’s sophisticated downtown residents.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch led the construction loan financing for the project in conjunction with ULLICO, Citizens Bank and ING Real Estate Finance. Walsh Construction is serving as the general contractor and Pappageorge Haymes Partners is the Architect of Record. Initial turnover of units is projected to occur in late 2019.

Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment, development and management firm, founded in 1957, with a presence in 189 cities in 20 countries and $96.5 billion of assets under management, including $48.5 billion for which Hines provides fiduciary investment management services and $48 billion for which Hines provides third-party property-level services. The firm has 114 developments currently underway around the world, and historically, has developed, redeveloped or acquired 1,205 properties, totaling over 390 million square feet. The firm’s current property and asset management portfolio includes 533 properties, representing over 213 million square feet. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a pioneering commitment to sustainability, Hines is one of the largest and most respected real estate organizations in the world. Visit http://www.hines.com for more information.

The AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust is an open-end commingled core commercial real estate fund with over $6 billion in gross assets as of March 31, 2017. Since beginning operations in 1988, the BIT has invested over $6.3 billion for the development and acquisition of more than 200 office, retail, multifamily, hotel, warehouse, and mixed use properties across the country. The BIT is managed by PNC Bank, National Association (PNC Bank), as Trustee. PNC Realty Investors (PRI) provides investment advisory services to the BIT. The AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation provides, marketing, investor relations, and labor relations.

Rendering of Wolf Point East (Courtesy of Hines)

Rendering of Wolf Point East (Courtesy of Hines)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2017/06/28/hines-makes-it-official-wolf-point-east-is-underway/

Construction Crews Begin Work on Wolf Point East

Less than a week after the city issued the first permits for Wolf Point East, work is already vividly underway.

Loop Spy Chris tipped our line with a photo of excavators excavating, haulers hauling, and bulldozers bulldozing where soon a skyscraper sporting almost six hundred new homes will sprout along the Chicago River.

Moving dirt for Wolf Point East (Courtesy of Loop Spy Chris)

Moving dirt for Wolf Point East (Courtesy of Loop Spy Chris)

You may remember that this 675-foot-tall tower was previously planned to be a mixed bag of office, retail, hotel, and residential space.  But the developer is jumping on what may be the tail end of the downtown apartment bandwagon, betting there’s still enough life in the residential bubble to warrant an entire tower of it.

Wolf Point East was also originally designed to be 750 feet tall.  But it’s more modest shape and its 60 stories will now better compliment Wolf Point West, the sister tower on the point with 48 floors.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2017/06/28/construction-crews-begin-work-on-wolf-point-east/