Earlier this month we learned that Lakeshore East's infamous "Site O" would finally be getting a long-rumored tower, thanks to developer Magellan posting a request for bids from contractors. Today, thanks to the den of architecture and development buffs at the SSP Forums, we now have our first look at the design of the forthcoming tower. At the moment, details are quite sparse, however, we have been able to confirm that the 642-foot tower was designed by Chicago's bKL Architecture, who've been making a name for themselves with high profile projects like Wolf Point West, 200 North Michigan, and the recently completed Coast at Lakeshore East.
The new as-yet-unnamed tower will fit in the narrow space between Aqua and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building on North Columbus, between Lake and Randolph and will include both a residential and hotel components. The hotel will occupy floors 4-21 and the rest will be used for residential units - although it is still uncertain whether they'll be condos or apartments. Ceiling heights have been a sticky issue with Magellan and Lakeshore East, with many feeling that the sub-8-foot ceiling heights in buildings like Aqua and The Coast show a lack of understanding of the current market, where high ceilings are prized by renters and demanded by buyers. The leaked plans for this building show 9'-2" ceilings, indicating a change in approach that will hopefully continue through Magellan's future work.
The podium seen in the renderings appears to be intended for active use and not for parking, which should be a relief to those who have grown weary of the "parking podium" trend permeating downtown development over the past decade. Parking will all be buried, and may possibly be shared with Aqua's parking garage.
Timelines for this development are still unknown, and since this project is still technically under wraps, bKL declined to comment on the design at this time. We're looking forward to hearing more about this project whenever Magellan officially announces it.
·201 N Columbus Thread [SkyscraperPage Forums]
·O-hoy, Yet Another Skyscraper Inbound for Lakeshore East [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Lakeshore East coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous bKL Architecture coverage [Curbed Chicago]