Following encouraging news from Magellan Development regarding the pre-sale of condos in the upcoming 93-story Vista Tower, nearby residents of downtown Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood were recently presented with a logistical plan and tentative timetable for the construction of the Studio Gang-designed building. While the presentation shed new light on the four-year-long construction process, perhaps the most exciting kernel of information was the project’s stated start date of late July/early August.
It’s understandable why the news of a new 1000+ footer taking root has skyscraper enthusiasts buzzing. The last such project of this scale was Trump International Hotel & Tower which started way back in early 2005. Though not an entirely fair comparison to make, New York currently has nine such supertall towers under construction with even more floating around on drawing tables.
As far as the project’s impact on vehicle flow, the biggest disruptions will come with a new traffic pattern at Wacker and Columbus and the closure of Lower Field Boulevard — a route that Vista Tower will literally straddle. The current (and less than optimal) pedestrian access from lower Lakeshore East to the Chicago River Walk will also be restricted during construction. That connection will ultimately be much improved as part of the Vista Tower’s plan.
While construction will see disruptions to east end of Upper Wacker and western end of E. Waterside Drive, both of those streets currently dead-end at the building site and typically don’t get much traffic. However, once completed, Vista will bridge Wacker and Waterside and improve traffic circulation for the entire Lakeshore East area.
It’s also worth noting that the diagrams show the lot just to the west of the Vista Tower site listed as vacant. This parcel was long-discussed as the future home of the bKL-designed second phase of GEMS World Academy. While breaking ground on the school while Vista is still rising would add another layer of complex logistics to an already tricky job site, it’s also curious that the GEMS parcel doesn’t appear to highlighted as a potential staging area.
- Studio Gang's 1,186-Foot Vista Tower Ready to Begin Construction [Curbed Chicago]
- Wanda Vista Construction Presentation [McHugh Construction]
- Lake Shore East archive [Curbed Chicago]