The one block radius around Lake & Wabash doesn't need the energy that major construction offers— it's pretty darn electric as it is. But the downtown as a whole has cause for celebration with a pair of development happenings bringing added commerce and population to the central Loop. We're talking about the conversion of the Old Dearborn Bank Building to 250-room Virgin Hotel and the new apartment tower rising at 73 E Lake, also known as Summit on Lake. Virgin installed its red crown scaffolding on 203 N Wabash's upper levels back in late April, and interior work has been progressing ever since. It may be getting a facelift but any exterior treatments will bow to the landmarked Art Deco facade. Likewise the interior floor plates will remain in place, better suited to hotel use than today's office needs anyway.
It's possible to catch active construction at the Virgin site and around the corner at Summit on Lake in the same frame. The 42-story, 332-unit apartment project of M&R Development and architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz is easier to lust after since it's close to topping out and still mostly skeletal. A blue glass curtain wall has been applied to the midsection, destined to spread by the day, and viewing such a slender infill development is an impressive thing all on its own. Naturally, the $116M building will feature high-end rentals and amenities (including a rooftop deck). Look for April 2014 occupancy.
·Activated Virgin [ArchitectureChicago PLUS]
·Summit on Lake [Curbed Chicago]