Move out of the way Chicago Spire, another radical supertall skyscraper is looking to plant its feet in the Windy City. Chinese real estate holding company Wanda Commercial Properties has unveiled a new plan to build an 89 story, mixed-use tower on a site located in the downtown Lakeshore East neighborhood. The tower would include a 5-star hotel and a combination of residential and commercial space. So, is this the Jeanne Gang tower that we've been hearing about? The new mixed-use tower is planned to be built just a few doors down from the architect's famed Aqua tower, which is also located in Lakeshore East. Reports of a new Studio Gang designed, Magellan Development backed tower for Lakeshore East first broke back in March but there were no clues of what it could possibly look like - until now. At roughly 1150 feet tall, the tower would become the third tallest in Chicago, pushing the 1,136 foot Aon Center out of that position. Chinese news network Sina Corp., who published one rendering of the building's design, says the expected finish date for the $900M building could be as soon as 2018.
Not entirely well-known within the United States, Wanda Group currently owns several dozen 5-star hotels across the globe and recently purchased the American movie theater chain AMC Entertainment. A new 5-star hotel in Chicago would join a host of ultra-luxury hotels in Chicago, and contribute to a swelling hotel boom in the Loop area. The building will also include apartments and possibly commercial space as well.
As for location, the renders shown puts the building in the top center of Lakeshore East on East Upper Wacker Drive, right between the Regatta condominium tower and the recently-opened Coast apartments. The future phase two building of GEMS World Academy is also pictured in the render. It may not be completely clear in the render, but it appears that the building straddles North Field Boulevard on each side, which past rumors about the future Gang tower have indicated.
And speaking or rumors, while none of the early reports of this skyscraper's developments have included confirmation that is indeed designed by Studio Gang, it might be safe bet. The render shows the building on land that Magellan Real Estate owns, and no other Magellan/Lakeshore East towers have been announced or even rumored to be in the works except for the Studio Gang project. Further, in May, a hand-drawn sketch appeared on the Skyscraper Page forums, that was presumably of the Gang-designed tower in question. Today, it's difficult not to compare that sketch (right) to the mysterious render provided by the Sina news outlet and see the a striking similarity, indicating that the poster legitimately did see an early draft of the Gang design and that it was for this building.
A project this scale will most likely need a Planned Development zoning, which means the local alderman will have to give the thumbs-up for this proposal to move on to the next stage of the arduous approval process, so no details about this development should be taken as fact yet. However, Curbed has reached out directly to Studio Gang for more information, and we look forward to hopefully seeing an official announcement from the city or Magellan Real Estate sometime within the next couple of days.
· Wanda Group to build 89-story 5-star hotel, apartment in Chicago [Sina English]
· China's Wanda Invests in Chicago Waterfront Property [WSJ]
· Previous Lakeshore East coverage [Curbed Chicago]
· Previous Studio Gang coverage [Curbed Chicago]