Three new residential high-rise buildings have started construction over the last two months, including 1333 South Wabash, 171 North Halsted and finally, at long last, activity at 500 North Milwaukee. The northwest corner of this six-point intersection has drilling equipment ready to move full speed ahead on the foundation work for the 14 story tower positioned along Green Street between Grand and Milwaukee. The block of dilapidated buildings, long painted a flat ship metal gray, has been reduced to foundations while a new four story low-rise takes its place on the triangular parcel adjacent to Milwaukee and Grand Avenues.
The 227 unit apartment project is latest development starting construction in the trend of Transit Oriented Development popping up along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor. This site in particular has been targeted for a uptick in density since the pre-recession years when the 12 story Grand Station condominium project was planned. After the property changed hands a few times, Akara Partners has now begun redeveloping this visually prominent site which is located just above a subway station and near the Kennedy Expressway. Expect the tower to start rising above the adjacent Bella Como townhomes this summer.
Moving on to the office tower front along the Chicago River, 150 North Riverside's concrete core is now above street level while River Point across the street at 444 West Lake is accelerating upward as construction crews have hit their stride. Steel framing now passes the 12th floor while the concrete core extends approximately five stories above floorplate framing. River Point's lobby space is now starting to take shape where it will eventually lead to a brand new one and half acre public park currently occupied by construction trailers on the roof of the tunnel capping the railroad tracks approaching Union Station.
Over in Streeterville, Grand and McClurg now finally feels like an enclosed outdoor urban room as the former surface parking lot at the northeast corner now has a structure on the rise. Golub & Company's 545 North McClurg is now four floors above the street and the jagged south facade along Grand Avenue is becoming apparent with the zigzag of slab edges cantilevering ever so slightly from the column grid.
This Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) designed tower will stand in at 45 stories and deliver 490 apartment units. The site was acquired through a land swap with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) which traded their employee parking lot for a site where Golub planned a twin tower development one block north on McClurg. That site which once held the former studios of CBS and the site of the first televised presidential debate now has RIC's new Ability Institute essentially topped out. The glass facade has climbed halfway up the structure and while it looks far along in the construction process, much interior work remains before the planned opening in early 2017.
— Shawn Ursini