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Crews get to work on 60-story Wolf Point East tower

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The second phase of the Wolf Point Master Plan is expected to deliver its 698 apartments in late 2019

Harry Carmichael
The most recent rendering of Wolf Point East.

Since receiving a permit to begin construction just two weeks ago, crews are wasting little time getting to work at the future site of the 60-story apartment tower known as Wolf Point East. Although skyscraper construction is not technically considered underway until foundation equipment is on-site and drilling, workers at Wolf Point are in full site-prep mode. Currently, heavy earth-movers are removing any underground debris that could interfere with the new building’s below-ground caissons.

With the upcoming tower not expected to deliver its 698 luxury rental units until late 2019, the prominent riverfront site will see a lot of construction activity in the next two years. Following the progress also got a lot more convenient thanks to a handy webcam perched atop 333 Wacker at the opposite riverbank.

Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli with Chicago’s Pappageorge Haymes serving as local architect of record, Wolf Point East comes from developer Hines Interests and long-time property owner the Kennedy family. The duo have also teamed up with AFL-CIO trust—a group that invests in real estate on behalf of union workers' pension plans—for the project.

While the existing Wolf Point West tower and the upcoming East tower are poised to make a major impact along the Chicago River, the crown jewel in the project is expected to be the third and final building known as Wolf Point South. Also designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli, the trophy building is zoned to rise 950 feet and could possibly see some unused density from the East tower transferred to reach even greater heights.

The evolving [left to right] design of Wolf Point’s tallest trophy tower.
Pelli Clarke Pelli

Though the final look of the near-supertall tower will be locked-in at a later date, the “unofficial” design has evolved considerably over the past several years. Initially shown as a smooth, billowing glass structure reminiscent of a sail full of wind, Wolf Point West later morphed into a more stepped layout topped by a spire.

The most recent rendering forgoes the decorative pinnacle and adds more pronounced setbacks as it rises. It remains to be seen if the design will change again. The project is slated to go back before the Chicago Plan Commission for a courtesy presentation before work on the South Tower can begin—likely no earlier than 2020.

Wolf Point West [left], South [center], and East [right].
Pelli Clarke Pelli