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Updated H2O+ redevelopment plan to be shown to nearby West Loop condo owners

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While the presentation is not open to the public, the meeting is a clear sign of forward progress

Rendering from the July 2016 presentation
GREC Architects

Despite drawing rabid opposition from West Loop neighbors by presenting a “too tall” and “too dense” plan back in July, developers are still looking to put the block-sized site formerly occupied by H2O Plus at 845 W. Madison to a higher and better use. According to an email distributed to condo owners in a neighboring building, representatives from The John Buck Company, Lendlease, and GREC Architects will be hosting a closed-doors meeting this week to present their revamped plan to a select group of nearby residents.

Buck and friends previously proposed a 600,000-square-foot development that featured a pair of 17- and 15-story towers connected by a two-story parking podium, elevated green space, ground floor retail, and row of duplex townhomes. The project would have delivered a whopping 627 residences, 10,000-square-feet of commercial space, and nearly 300 parking spaces to the rapidly-evolving neighborhood.

Rendering from the July 2016 presentation
GREC Architects

After being met by hordes of angry neighbors wielding metaphorical pitchforks, the development team was urged to go back to the drawing board by Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. In October, a fresh zoning application was filed with the city of Chicago and showed a revised plan. Unit count was reduced to 586 with the tallest tower rising 16—instead of 17—floors. Despite these changes, it’s unclear if this is the identical plan developers are now shopping to the immediate neighbors.

Considering that projects of this size often require multiple iterations and compromises before they are approved, it’s more than possible that the H2O Plus design has been further modified. Any speculation, however, will likely not be put to rest until the plan is reintroduced at an open public meeting. With behind-the-scenes presentations currently taking place, an announcement of a community-wide meeting should be soon forthcoming. Stay tuned.