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Renderings Revealed and More at Wolf Point Meeting

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Hines Interests, and a host of other major players, presented detailed plans for Wolf Point at yesterday's community meeting. As you may recall, the proposal calls for three towers located on the south, east, and west portions of the 4-acre site. The most iconic of the bunch, the 900-foot south tower, is a gently sloping, cylindrical office building with a faceted facade. Fred Clarke of Pelli Clarke Pelli, the firm that designed the south tower, envisions an airy, elegant crown consisting of glass and steel elements. The east tower, also by Pelli Clarke Pelli and planned for office tenants, clocks in at around 700 feet. In designing these buildings, Clarke stressed the need to tread gently on the landscape. His firm crafted tall, relatively thin structures with light footprints to allow for more civic space. The buildings are also lifted off the ground with pillars to create a strong interaction between the lobbies and landscaping. Not surprisingly, the timetable for the office buildings is more distant, perhaps as far off as 2018 to 2020 in light of the limited demand for office space.

The remaining tower, situated on western side of Wolf Point, was designed by bKL Architecture. Of all the designs unveiled at the meeting, it is the furthest along in terms of detailing. Planned as Phase One of the development, it stands the greatest chance of being built owing the fact that it's a residential project. Thomas Kerwin of bKL described the 500-foot structure as an interplay of three layered planes. It features a stepped facade with highly recessed balconies. The western side is raised elegantly above the riverwalk on a series of thin, stilt-like columns. As for the timetable, Hines hopes to see it completed by 2014.

Kenig, Lindgren, O’Hara, Aboona (KLOA) conducted the traffic study on behalf of the developer. In collaboration with CDOT, it focused on six intersections. Without delving into too much detail, the study concluded that area traffic will be negatively impacted by the addition of these buildings. However, the added congestion will be mitigated to some degree by the site's proximity to a myriad of transit options. The CTA stop at Merchandise is within a few blocks. The Olgilvie Transportation Center is less than a mile away. And there are numerous CTA buses routes. KLOA suggested alternatives such as biking to work or using car-sharing programs to lessen traffic impacts.

Here are some other tidbits we gleaned from the meeting: The project will create an investment of over $1 billion in Chicago. It will add around 1,000 feet of riverwalk. Landscape architects want to reorient the riverwalk so that pedestrians are not separated from the immediate riverside by a layer of foliage, as is currently the case. To this end, a bulkhead will be installed. We were assured that no parking structures will be visible. There are also plans for terraced seating with grasses and plantings similar to the portion of riverwalk at State and Wabash. Lastly, before the development can proceed, a change must be made to the existing zoning governing the property. Jack George, real estate attorney working on the project, said he plans to file the amendment with City Council today.
·Heights Are In For Three Towers At Wolf Point [Curbed Chicago]
·Developers give first glimpse of proposed complex at junction of Chicago River branches [Trib]

Wolf Point

350 W Mart Center Drive, Chicago, IL 60654