A newly unveiled plan for the Lakeshore East community would see the addition of 2,043 residences, 926 new hotel rooms, and tens of thousands of square feet of new retail space in the form of four new towers planted on sites that surround the Lakeshore East Park. The proposed towers would not only help to complete the planned community, but with heights approaching 80 stories, the new towers would make a noticeable impact on the city’s skyline. Presented in front of a packed ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, executives from the developers Magellan Group and Lendlease, along with Tom Kerwin from bKL Architecture, unveiled the dramatic new plan for downtown Chicago.
A single tower is proposed for what is referred to as “Site O” of the Lakeshore East master plan. The site, located at 195 North Columbus Drive, is currently a vacant parcel. Studio Gang’s Aqua neighbors the site to the north while the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower by Goettsch Partners stands just to the south.
Planned for the site is an approximately 650-foot-tall tower which will house 643 residential units, two hotels, 191 parking spaces, and roughly 14,000 square feet of retail space. The modular-looking tower will also feature a sprawling green roof spanning around 70% of the total roof area and will be connected to Chicago’s underground pedway system. In addition, the architects behind the project will be targeting a LEED Silver designation for the tower.
In terms of impact, developer Sean Linnane of Magellan Group says that the tower is significant for helping to complete the western edge of the Lakeshore East neighborhood, which currently features nine completed buildings and the under-construction Vista Tower—which will become Chicago’s third tallest building when it is completed in 2020. However, the project for Site O would also create 600 temporary jobs during its construction and 800 permanent jobs once completed. It is estimated that the tower will contribute approximately $4.75 million in annual tax revenue to city coffers once it is up and operating.
Designed by bKL Architecture, the tower has a slim, modular appearance which breaks up the massing. Composed of what appears to be four stacked boxes on a long rectangular podium, the tower with its contemporary design would certainly be at home next to Aqua and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower. If the proposal moves forward as planned, Magellan Group plans to break ground at some point during the first quarter of 2018.
Sites I, J, K, and L
While Site O in and of itself represents a major new downtown development, the towers planned for the eastern parcels represent one of the most ambitious new developments for Chicago in recent years. The site, originally approved for four buildings, will feature three towers. Located at at 197-301 N. Harbor Drive and 452-500 E. Waterside Drive, the vacant parcels will eventually see a total of 1,400 new residential units, 300 hotel rooms, and approximately 30,000 square feet of new retail space.
Chicago’s Magellan Group and the Australia-based Lendlease have partnered for this portion of the planned development. All three towers proposed for parcels I, J, and KL are designed by Chicago’s bKL Architecture.
The most dramatic of the three towers is the 80-story, 875-foot tower planned for Site I on the northeastern edge of Lakeshore East. At the proposed height, the tower would be slightly taller than the 859-foot Aqua but would be considerably shorter than the 93-story Vista, which will stand at 1,186 feet when it is completed. However, the other two towers planned for site will be much shorter. The Site J tower will top out at 550 feet or 50 stories while KL will rise to 438 feet or 40 stories.
Described as an “iconic” addition to the Chicago skyline by bKL principal Tom Kerwin, the 80-story tower also features a similar modular appearance that is consistent with the other towers planned for the development. However, the tower’s width gradually expands as it gets taller, offering large floor plates and sweeping views of the city for upper floor residents.
While the tower for Site I was last night’s show stopper, the towers planned for sites J and KL will be the first to start. The two are positioned on their parcels at a slant to ensure the best views for residents of existing and future buildings of Lake Shore East, bKL principal Tom Kerwin explained. And while four buildings were originally approved for the site, developers Magellan Group and Lendlease combined the sites at K and L to offset the height for the planned tower at parcel I.
According to Magellan’s Sean Linnane, the developer will try to construct the pair at the same time. The timeline for groundbreaking on the pair is within the next year with a 24-month construction period.
All three buildings are designed to meet LEED Gold standards and the construction of the trio is expected to create roughly 3,000 temporary construction jobs. Once completed, the set will contribute roughly $20 million in taxes and revenues to the city annually.
While the height and density of the planned towers were much of the focus at last night’s meeting, another key component of the proposal is the creation of new park space. According to developers, new park space surrounding the towers at sites I, J, and KL will total 134,340 square feet. A spiraling walkway and staircase would border the park, allowing residents to walk from Lakeshore East to the lakefront. In addition, the proposal includes a permanent dog park for the community.