Fresh off the success of the 493-foot Wolf Point West rental tower at the confluence of the Chicago River’s north and south branches, the development partnership between the Kennedy family and Houston-based Hines Interests is looking to move forward with the next phase of the site's three tower plan. According to Alby Gallun of Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily, a second 750-foot skyscraper from Pelli Clarke Pelli architects will break ground on the eastern edge of the riverfront parcel by the first quarter of 2017.
The news puts an end to speculation as to whether the remainder of the point would be developed shortly after the completion of the west tower or if an interim plan to repave the site as a landscape parking lot would proceed as depicted at a 2012 42nd Ward community meeting. The same public presentation also outlined the second phase as the 950-foot mixed-use south tower, so news of the eastern building getting the go-ahead is somewhat unexpected.
Less surprising is the fact that the next phase of the Wolf Point development will be comprised of rental units. At the moment, downtown Chicago’s luxury rental market could not be hotter. While condo demand is slowly creeping in the right direction, residential developers are still seeing the biggest demand and enjoying the greatest returns from apartments, despite a surge of new units coming online.
All three phases of the Wolf Point master plan were approved under and single Planned Development (PD) so work on the eastern tower will not require city re-approval from a zoning standpoint. However, it was announced during the 2012 public presentation that phases II and III would require updated traffic studies and separate community meetings prior to construction. No date for public presentation has been announced as of yet.