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Imagining the Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle as Willis' Big Brother

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It's a ten-story parking garage today, but the plot at the southwest corner of Wells and Madison could have been the site of yet another contender for the city – and world's – tallest building if that pesky Persian Gulf War and its subsequent recession hadn't have gotten in the way. Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle, the proposed super narrow 125-story tower by J. Paul Beitler, the same local developer behind the new Wells & Randolph office tower proposal, and the late Lee Miglin, Beitler's former partner who was murdered in 1997 by the same man who killed fashion designer Gianni Versace, was planned in 1988. At a staggering 1,952 feet tall, the building, designed by starchitect Cesar Pelli, would have easily clinched the title for tallest in the world at the time (surpassing the then-Sears Tower by 550 feet). Plans called for office space, 12 floors of indoor parking, a two-story health club, and an observation deck. And since the site was just a few short blocks from Sears, one could basically look down on the lesser observation deck. The building's design had a rough resemblance to 181 West Madison, another Pelli building directly across the street, only, you know, way taller.

When the downtown office market collapsed in 1990, so did the Skyneedle plans – another towering Chicago idea that never made it past the blueprints.

—Gwendolyn Purdom

·Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle [Wikipedia]
·An Unbuilt Tower Is A Fine Legacy For Lee Miglin [Trib]
·Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle Thread [Skyscraper Page]