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Chicago Plan Commission approves 800-foot riverfront office tower

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A look at the projects approved today by the Chicago Plan Commission

Chicago Department of Planning and Development

Today’s meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission (CPC) voted on a number of new developments. Though all new and amended Plan Developments must also pass Chicago’s Zoning Commitee and the vote of the full Chicago City Council, the monthly meeting provides a preview of some of the projects headed to the Windy City in the near- and long-term future. Here’s what was approved.

110 North Wacker

↑ Without a doubt the most high-profile item on today’s agenda, an 800-foot office tower slated to replace the low-rise General Growth building at 110 N. Wacker was given the thumbs up by the CPC. Expected to contain 1,350,000 square feet of rentable space and a new publicly accessible riverwalk, the 51-story project comes from Dallas-based Howard Hughes Company and Chicago’s Riverside Investment and Development with Goettsch Partners leading design duties.

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A rendering of rooftop tenant space 110 N. Wacker.
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The riverfront site is currently zoned DC-16 Downtown Core district—one of the city’s most dense designations—with a base floor area ratio (FAR) of 16. To achieve a desired FAR of 33.81, the development team is prepared to pump a staggering $19.5 million into Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

While twenty percent of the money will go towards nearby infrastructure improvements and Chicago’s adopt-a-landmark program, the majority of it will be placed into a fund earmarked for reinvestment in the cities most underserved communities. Controlled by Mayor Emanuel, it remains to be seen how and where the cash will be used.

While no anchor tenant has been officially announced for 110 N. Wacker, Crain’s reported the Bank of America was eyeing a possible lease of 500,000 square feet in the proposed skyscraper. According to the Chicago Tribune, work could begin as early as October. Project contractor Clark Construction estimates a construction timeline of 36 months.

Green & 64th

↑ Next, the commission approved a plan to build a new affordable-rate senior housing development at Green and 64th streets in Chicago’s Englewood community. Known as Montclare Senior Residences of Englewood, the seven-story structure will contain 102 dwelling units for 55-and-over residents plus 66 parking spaces. Last month, the city approved a land sale necessary for the project to move forward.

4601 North Broadway

↑ With an updated exterior meant to better mesh with the newly-created Uptown Square Historical District, this nine-story transit-oriented development slated for the northeast corner of Broadway and Wilson earned the CPC’s blessing. Designed by MX3 Architects, the 103-foot-tall building will feature 197 rental units plus roughly 11,500 square feet of ground floor retail and 44 parking stalls. The project will provide five affordable units on site and pay $1.87 million into Chicago’s affordable housing fund.

7101 West 64th Place

↑ The Chicago Plan Commission approved a plan to build a three-story replacement for the John C. Dore Elementary School in the West Clearing neighborhood on Chicago’s far Southwest Side. The Chicago Board of Education is seeking a zoning change to construct the new facility at 7101-47 W. 64th Place with hopes to relieve the overcrowding issues currently facing Dore Elementary. This item originally appeared on the February agenda but was pushed back to this month.

5150 North Northwest Highway

↑ A five-story storage facility from LSC Development—the first phase of a highly-controversial two-part development in Chicago’s Jefferson Park—got the nod this afternoon. The yet-to-be-approved second phase calls for a 100-unit residential building with 80 on-site affordable units. Local residents in opposition of the apartment project have already preemptively raised thousands of dollars to block its construction.