Ready for more coverage of 435 North Park Drive? Good, because we attended the latest community meeting, hosted by SOAR and Ald. Brendan Reilly. Developer Donald Wilson of DRW Holdings and John Leahy of SCB presented revised plans for the former Waldorf-Astoria site made in response to various neighborhood criticisms, many of which were laid out in a letter from SOAR.
The primary issue centered on widespread opposition to the placement of loading docks along New Street. The developer was receptive and agreed to remove all of the curb cuts from New Street and relocate loading/service areas to lower East North Water Street. He also promised enhancements to spruce up the appearance of New Street, including trees, plantings, enhanced lighting, and articulation in the blank wall facing the street.
In addition, concerns were expressed over whether the building would maintain a protected view corridor extending from Ogden Slip to the Tribune Tower. Specifically, residents of neighboring 440-480 McClurg worried that a blank wall on New Street would intrude into the corridor. According to Leahy, the portion of the structure occupying the corridor is 30 feet tall, putting it 12 feet below the maximum allowable height and ensuring that views will not be obstructed.
Another issue involved the similarity of the design of 435 North Park to other recent SCB designs, including 500 North Lake Shore Drive. In an effort to rebut this claim, Leahy offered a number of slides of various SCB projects and discussed the differences between them. He pointed out, for instance, that 500 North Lake Shore Drive is a simple, monolithic box whereas an attempt was made in designing 435 North Park to break it up into separate pieces. He concluded by saying: "We think our buildings each have a distinctive character."
We leave you with some additional info about the hotel element of the project: It will contain 400 units, 26,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants, a rooftop bar, and a shared fitness center and pool terrace. The entry for guests is located on Park Drive; employee access will be on New Street. And, although Wilson could not confirm, rumor has it that Loews will own and operate the hotel.