One of Chicago’s most notorious—and notoriously well-located—construction pits may soon at long-last be the site of renewed activity as plans to build two lanky, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)-designed residential towers at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive attempt, once again, to move forward in the approval process. As the Chicago Tribune reports, there’s been some substantial tweaks to the design at the Related Midwest-developed site. The towers, which will have a combined 1,1000 residential units, have both been scaled back in height, one reduced from 1,100 feet to 875 feet and the other from 850 feet to 765 feet. A hotel planned for the taller of the two towers has also been axed due to traffic and security concerns, among other changes to the towers’ design. The much-anticipated development of what never materialized beyond a large, gaping circular hole on a primo parcel of land on the Chicago River waterfront has been a hot topic in the Chicago real estate world for more than a decade. The coveted Streeterville site was originally slated to be graced with Santiago Calatrava’s 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire condominium tower, a project that was halted after 30 percent of its units were sold and a 76-foot-deep foundation was dug during the 2008 economic crisis. Calatrava’s curvy, cloud-brushing tower would have been the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at the time, if it had ever been realized. “When the design was first shown in 2005, I wrote it could be the city’s first metrosexual skyscraper, although I predicted it would never get built,” wrote Chicago Sun-Times business reporter David Roeder of Calatrava's design. “Yeah, I was right, but true foresight would have had me not covering real estate and instead shorting everything in the market ahead of the crash of 2008.” Related Midwest took control of the site in 2014 and revealed its initial plans—designed by SOM’s David Childs—for the twin residential high-rises in 2018. The plan, however, was later rejected by 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly, who echoed numerous concerns voiced by local residents and business owners including the project’s height. Related, in turn, was forced to go back to the drawing board. In 2019, the developer received an extension to commence construction on the delayed project without having to revisit the zoning approval process according to the Tribune. It’s now back in the hands of Reilly to give his blessing to the shorter, altered version of SOM’s original design before the project can progress and go before the City Council for approval, then eventually kick-off construction. Reilly has scheduled a public meeting to review Related’s revamped plans for the site.
Posts tagged with "Chicago Spire":
Acting on behalf of his Streeterville constituents, Chicago’s 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly has rejected Related Midwest’s current plan to build on the former site of the Chicago Spire. Last spring, the developer announced its intention to construct two stepped towers just west of Lake Shore Drive, one reaching the height of 1,100 feet, with 300 condominium units and 175 luxury hotel rooms, and another 850-foot tower with 550 residential units. Designed by David Childs with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the two towers at 400 North Lake Shore Drive would sit on a four-story plinth and would open out at a skewed angle to Lake Michigan. In addition, Related Midwest committed to the long-awaited completion of DuSable Park as well as extending the Riverwalk under Lake Shore Drive and out to the lakefront, with a public esplanade running along the Ogden Slip just north of the site. According to an email sent to his constituents, Alderman Reilly contacted the development team at Related Midwest in August, articulating various concerns voiced by residents during meetings between condominium associations and the developer. Related Midwest responded, but according to Alderman Reilly, failed to address the major concerns about their proposal. The project will need a zoning change and aldermanic approval before it goes to construction. “I always strive to negotiate positive outcomes when considering development proposals,” the alderman noted in the email. “As with any project, my ultimate goal is to strike a fair balance and approve responsible projects that will be successful for the owners, while enhancing the character and vitality of the surrounding neighborhood.” Residents have asked for the complete elimination of the hotel use and a reduction of the podium height and bulk, and have voiced the need for the project to address traffic issues. Of primary concern is access to the site via East North Water Street, a significant aspect of the design that nearby residents have asked to be restricted, effectively requiring a redesign of the primary entrance to the structure. Residents have also asked for the developer to make greater use of the Lake Shore Drive access ramp system and below-grade parking systems to manage deliveries, service vehicles, and pedestrian pick-ups and drop-offs, away from residential development to the west, and tucked under Lake Shore Drive. Constituents have also asked for the project to address the public space components of the project, including the elimination of a public esplanade along the Ogden Slip, a dredged body of water that runs parallel to the north branch of the Chicago River. Related Midwest must also create a security plan for DuSable Park and the Riverwalk connection. Construction of DuSable Park, the promenade at the Ogden Slip and the extension of the Riverwalk to the lakefront are components to the Cityfront Center Master Plan, approved by the City Council in 1985. Cityfront Center would encourage residential and commercial building between Navy Pier and North Michigan Avenue but would leave the developer responsible for public works improvements, many of which have yet to be completed. The time it has taken to complete the public space components, many of which were promised under Mayor Harold Washington’s administration, raises questions as far as the effectiveness of privatizing public space. While Streeterville includes some of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers, the blocks immediately surrounding the former Spire site are defined by lower height residential structures, including the Riverview Townhomes at three stories, and the Lofts at River East at six. The rejection of the current plan for 400 North Lake Shore Drive comes at a time where several large developments announced with fanfare this past spring are being examined closely by neighborhood residents and their elected ward leaders, including the 78 in the South Loop, and Lincoln Yards between Lincoln Park and Bucktown. Alderman Reilly recently approved an update of the plans to redevelop Union Station after the first version of the development was lauded by neighbors and preservationists.
In a generous and surprising nod to the Chicago School of Architecture, David Childs with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has designed two sister towers in terracotta and glass for the former site of the Chicago Spire. Announced Tuesday night at a community meeting by developer Related Midwest, renderings for the development show two towers rippling upwards, set upon a masonry base resembling a rectangular photo carousel. Taking inspiration from some of the cities’ most significant buildings, Childs has covered the towers in a familiar architectural form–the Chicago Window–with setbacks allowing for pivot after pivot of the form in various multiples as the building reaches higher. Glazed terracotta became a way for turn-of-the-20th-century Chicago architects like Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham and William Le Baron Jenney to craft ornament that could be designed to exact specifications and made hollow, allowing them to decorate the tops of buildings. Topping off at 1,100 feet, the south tower will be constructed adjacent to the riverwalk and will offer 300 condominiums and a 175-key hotel. The north tower will offer 550 apartments and will be aligned with the Ogden slip, at 850 feet tall. A shared podium will provide pedestrian and vehicular accesses for both towers. Parking will be delivered via four underground levels. In addition to luxury offerings, Related Midwest has committed to realize the completion of a long-awaited public park on a rectangular piece of vacant land, separated by Lake Shore Drive. The creation of DuSable Park will honor the legacy of Chicago’s founder, Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable, and realize the vision of Mayor Harold Washington for public space atop what was once a site contaminated with thorium from the manufacture of incandescent gaslight mantles. Plans for the development, currently known as 400 North Lake Shore Drive, do not specify how the construction will address what remains of the Chicago Spire, a 78-foot-deep, 104-foot-wide underground cofferdam that sits below what will be the south tower. Construction of the towers is anticipated to take four and a half years.
Developer Related Midwest has announced plans to construct two skyscrapers on the former site of the Chicago Spire, with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s David Childs at the design helm. While renderings for the project have yet to be released, the Chicago Tribune reports that the site calls for two multi-functioning towers, each clad in glass with setbacks that taper towards the sky. Currently known only by its address, 400 North Lake Shore Drive, the project details are to be unveiled by Related Midwest on Tuesday at 7 pm during a community forum hosted by the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents at the Sheridan Grand Chicago. Thus far, the plans call for an 850-foot tower at the northern edge of the site along the Ogden Slip, and a 1,000-foot tower located at the southern edge of the site. The shorter tower will house apartments, with the taller tower to include condominiums and hotel rooms. Both towers will be located on a podium with building amenities. The high rises will take up more space on the site than the Chicago Spire originally called for. Along with the plan for the Spire site, Related Midwest has provisionally agreed to fund a portion of the construction of DuSable Park, a rectangular 3.3-acre parcel of land east of Lake Shore Drive. First dedicated as open space by Mayor Harold Washington in the 1980s, Related Midwest has not indicated if or how the park will relate to the towers. Most notably, Related Midwest has not specified how the construction will address what remains of the defunct Chicago Spire, now a 78-foot-deep, 104-foot-wide cofferdam over a decade old, the beginnings of a 2,000-foot unicorn horn shaped supertall building designed by Santiago Calatrava. If constructed as planned, the Spire would have been the tallest structure in the country. Related Midwest recently released renderings for a 62-acre Near South Side development they are calling "The 78," a serious of mixed-use, multi-phase structures built atop the largest undeveloped piece of land along the Chicago River. David Childs, a consulting partner in the SOM New York Office, is best known for designing One World Trade Center. Other work by Childs includes 7 World Trade Center, The Times Square Tower, and the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
Chicago development powerhouse Related Midwest has hired former SOM architect Michael Pfeffer to head the development of the failed Santiago Calatrava Spire site, as reported by Crain’s Chicago. As vice president of architecture, Pfeffer will also lead the development of an epic 62-acre vacant site along the Chicago River in the city’s South Loop. Originally proposed in 2005, the Chicago Spire was set to be the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The 150-story, 2,000-foot-tall residential tower was to rise over Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago River, near Navy Pier. The initial design was unanimously approved by the Chicago Planning Commission and construction was started in June 2007. Early financial problems and the 2008 financial crisis proved insurmountable for the project, which stopped construction by the end of 2008. As the failed project's largest creditor, Related Midwest was given ownership of the property in 2014. The site has laid vacant since 2008, leaving a circular foundation hole as the only evidence of the once highly anticipated tower. For the 2010 Chicago Prize Competition entitled MIND THE GAP, hosted by the Chicago Architecture Club, architects were asked to imagine novel uses for the 76-foot deep hole. Since then other architects have speculatively engaged with the site with proposals ranging from more twisting towers to giant urban swimming pools. The announcement of Pfeffer’s new role at Related is the first concrete indication that something might be happening at the site soon. According to Crain’s, designs for the Spire site and the 62-acre South Loop site could be released in 2017. The 62-acre site in the South Loop has also made headlines in recent years due to legal debates over money and ownership. The land's former owner is currently serving a prison sentence for fraud unrelated to the land. The site defines the western edge of the booming, residential development-dominated South Loop. With easy access to the downtown by road, as well as by water taxi, the area around the site is quickly being developed. Related Midwest is responsible for developing many of Chicago’s most visible recent projects, including the mixed-income Lathrop Homes redevelopment, the Robert A.M. Stern-designed One Bennett Park tower, and the 500 Lake Shore Drive tower.
Since 2008, there has been a giant hole where Santiago Calatrava’s Chicago Spire was supposed to rise some 2,000 feet out of the ground. The project lapsed due to financial woes by Irish developer Garrett Kelleher. The foundation is in place, and it looks like a place where a giant swimming pool or music venue would fit nicely, but AN is hearing that developers are working with Bjarke Ingels' Danish firm BIG on a possible Spire part to.
UPDATE [3:00 P.M.]: Related now has control of the Spire site, after embattled developer Garrett Kelleher transferred the deed Monday night. Related withdrew their claim in U.S. Bankruptcy Court following the transfer, reported the Chicago Tribune. They haven't released plans for development or sale of the notorious site, but President Curt Bailey issued this statement:
We are pleased to have resolution on 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, the site of the former Chicago Spire project. We recognize the importance of this site to the City of Chicago and look forward to creating an architecturally significant and thoughtful development befitting this premier location. We are proud to have a long track-record of developing landmark buildings with world-class architects like 840 N. Lake Shore Drive, 500 N. Lake Shore Drive, Park Tower, 340 on the Park and most recently, 111 W. Wacker Drive. We look forward to continuing that legacy on this marquee site.-- Halloween came and went last Friday, and with it so may have developer Garrett Kelleher's chance at reviving the Chicago Spire, an ambitious supertall project that faltered during the recession and left an empty cofferdam at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Under the terms of an earlier settlement in bankruptcy court, Kelleher's company, Shelbourne North Water Street, was required to make a payment to Related Midwest by midnight Saturday. When it did not receive the payment, Related promptly filed papers with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago to wrest control of the prime real estate from Kelleher. Last year Related moved to buy the dormant project's mounting debt, but part of Related's development team later sued Kelleher for more than $95 million in guarantees for the project. Kelleher surprised many observers in February by offering bullish statements to the media and stirring rumors of a second chance for the Santiago Calatrava–designed skyscraper. Friday's missing payment undercuts those claims. As the Chicago Tribune's Mary Ellen Podmolik reported:
Related, arguing that Shelbourne breached an already approved settlement and the confirmed bankruptcy plan by not making a payment or handing over the deed, wants U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Janet Baer to order Shelbourne to relinquish the deed to the 2.2-acre site.It looks increasingly unlikely that the Spire will rise again. Under Related's control, however, the downtown location could see some sort of development—if not the audacious starchitecture for which it was intended. A court hearing on the motion is scheduled for the morning of November 4.
Social media was abuzz recently over the reports by eavesdrop, the WSJ, and other major papers about the biggest recession scab over Chicago: the failed Spire designed by Santiago Calatrava. That Irish pie in the sky developer apparently found someone to bail the project out of its foreclosure. Everyone was all, “It’s back on!” Dear readers, until they start pumping the water out of the big hole in the ground, Eavesdrop is betting against this one.
Chicago’s stalled supertall Spire could rise again, according to the Irish developer who went into foreclosure in 2010 after a protracted legal battle over the project. Garrett Kelleher’s lawyers on Thursday filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking court approval to move ahead with the Chicago Spire, which remains a hole in the ground at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Kelleher said a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings would allow him to settle bankruptcy claims in full but, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, the court filings don’t say how much more money would be needed to fund the construction of the 2,000-foot-tall condo skyscraper. The twisting tower would have been the largest in the western hemisphere, but the project fell apart in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Skyward-looking Chicagoans, however, never went long without some speculation of the Spire’s resurrection. In June last year, Related Cos. of New York signed on to buy the project's debt. But an affiliate of Related later sued Kelleher for more than $95 million in guarantees involved with the project. According to the plan proposed Thursday, Kelleher’s firm Shelbourne North Water Street would put forward a reorganization plan by August 31 to bring the project out of bankruptcy, potentially transferring the property to Atlas. "We have been working with Garrett Kelleher over the past several months and now share his belief and vision in the Chicago Spire," said Steven Ivankovich, CEO of Northbrook-based Atlas, in a statement. Kelleher seemed optimistic as ever about the project’s sky-high ambitions. "Given the ongoing recovery in the Chicago property market, the timing is better now than when this project commenced," Kelleher said in a statement. "I am delighted to have found a partner who believes in the project as passionately as I do."
From the abandoned foundations of the ill-fated Chicago Spire to the ghosts of would-be Tribune Towers galore, Chicago’s unbuilt legacy could rival the iconic skyline it actually achieved. An exhibition on display downtown, dubbed City Works: Provocations for Chicago’s Urban Future, confronts the city with its alternative skyline in the form of a panoramic wall design and a “Phantom Chicago” iPhone app. The overall effect evokes “a dream but also a nightmare,” in the words of curator Alexander Eisenschmidt. It also presents “a series of urban environments that are typical for Chicago,” meditating through the work of four prominent local designers on some of the city’s contemporary challenges: waterways, industry, shelter, and vacancy. To borrow Eisenschmidt’s metaphor, the aim is to turn potential nightmares into visionary dreams. Studio Gang’s work on urban waterways is well-known and their work here, titled “Reclaiming the Edge,” reprises the vision they laid out in Reverse Effect and other publications: a riverfront community and restored natural habitat nourish each other in a kind of urban symbiosis. After years of legal wrangling, Chicago’s Water Reclamation District will soon disinfect the wastewater it dumps back into the river, signaling some substantive progress on water quality. Meanwhile the Chicago Riverwalk grows along the waterway's main branch. UrbanLab / Sarah Dunn & Martin Felsen present “Free Water District,” a vision that also draws on Chicago’s aquatic resources. Rust Belt cities share many challenges stemming from deindustrialization, but they also share a common asset: water. UrbanLab’s piece envisions a Great Lakes region revitalized by water-focused industries, in a “megastructure-scaled public/private land/water partnership.” Stanley Tigerman offers a rumination on shelter in both the spatial and spiritual sense with “Displacement of the Gridiron with the Cloister.” His target is the “ineffable in architecture,” which is philosophical enough to mean many things to many people who might have very different ideas of the city’s urban aspirations. “The Available City” by David Brown displays a similar yearning, manifesting the city’s 15,000 city-owned vacant lots as blots of color bubbling up amid fractured neighborhoods. The bright colors, which appear to denote potential programs for unused space, could mean anything — adaptive reuse, public space, space-age capsule hotel — but the important thing is they reanimate dead spaces that total an area twice the size of the Loop. All four panoramas will eventually connect, sharing continuous topographic or development features. But until the closing days of the show they remain separate, traveling slowly along dotted lines that traverse the small exhibition space. “By pulling them apart,” Eisenschmidt said, “there’s a little suspense.” City Works, adapted from the 2013 Biennale in Venice, returned to its city of origin May 24. And these “provocations” are not Eisenschmidt’s first. In 2011 the University of Illinois at Chicago professor’s Visionary Chicago (reviewed here for A|N by Philip Berger) stirred conversation about bold building while the real estate market languished. The free show is open at Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph St., seven days per week through September 29. Listen to a conference on the topic, held September 22, 2012 and recorded by WBEZ. Watch 50 meters of the "Phantom Chicago" wall panorama scroll by:
The Chicago Spire site, currently the city’s most-watched hole in the ground, has had false starts before. This week The Wall Street Journal reported that Related Cos. of New York signed on to buy the stalled project's debt, raising suspicions that development might proceed on the riverfront site. Santiago Calatrava’s twisting tower design was to stand 2,000 feet high and house condos, but the $64 million land bordering Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville sat idle after the recession hit in 2008. The troubled project has been tangled up in litigation ever since. Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency put the project's $93 million in debt on the market earlier this year. While Irish developer Garett Kelleher’s firm still holds title to the parcel, and Related’s reported deal remains up in the air, speculation swirls around the site which not long ago was prepared to house the nation’s tallest building.
The Chicago skyline is one of the most impressive in the country. Those who dreamed of a twisting new tower at its pinnacle, however, will have to turn to new skyscraping schemes. The Anglo Irish Bank is seizing control of the stalled Chicago Spire’s site from Shelbourne Development. This detailed feature on the rise and fall of Santiago Calatrava’s unbuilt tower in the Irish Independent calls the project’s developer, Garrett Kelleher, emblematic of the jet-setting “Irish Tiger.” In today's real estate environment, that label sounds more like slur than a compliment.