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A look at construction projects in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood

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The popular downtown community is in the midst of a construction boom

Photos by Harry Carmichael

Bordered by the River, Lake Michigan, and the Mag Mile, Chicago’s Streeterville community continues to be one of the Windy City’s top places to live, work, study, and play. The downtown neighborhood recently completed a 500-plus-foot apartment tower and has two more quickly rising on its heels. With a new hotel in the works for Navy Pier, the revamp of DuSable Park inching forward, and the site of the stalled Chicago Spire quietly awaiting redevelopment, Streeterville’s long-term future looks even brighter.

Here is a quick look at some of the bigger projects now under construction:

↑Michigan Avenue Apple Store

Despite only rising two stories above street level, Chicago’s new flagship Apple store makes a bold architectural statement where the Mag Mile meets the main branch of the Chicago River at Pioneer Court. The low-slung building from London-based Foster+Partners features a lightweight carbon fiber roof with wood-lined eaves, curved glass corners, and a grand waterfront staircase.

While early renderings of the project showed heavy Prairie School influences, the final design perhaps more closely resembles a giant laptop than anything from Wright and company. The structure’s roof has also been equipped with pyramid-shaped electronic bird deterrence devices that appear to be working with a mixed degree of success. So far, Apple has yet to commit to an opening date for the 20,000-square-foot downtown store.

↑465 North Park

After breaking ground last year, the curvy apartment tower rising at 465 N. Park is making a real impact. Designed by Pappageorge Haymes Partners, the 48-story skyscraper replaced a vacant parking lot between the Embassy Suites and Loews Hotel. When completed, the mixed-use high-rise will deliver 444 new rental units, retail, and amenities including a 5th floor outdoor pool deck with fire pits and a fitness center as well as a communal "Sky Deck" on the tower’s 37th level.

↑Aloft Mag Mile

Developed by Tishman Realty Corporation and designed by architect Valerio Dewalt Train, this limited-service hotel at 327 E. Ontario Street has wrapped-up foundation work and is starting its 18-story climb skyward. Slated to contain 336 guest rooms, the Aloft Mag Mile development is located just across the street from the recently opened and highly-imaginative Hotel ECM2 project.

↑One Bennett Park

At 70 stories, this high-profile skyscraper from Related Midwest and New York’s Robert A.M. Stern Architects will make a real statement on the northeast corner of Chicago’s iconic skyline. Located at 451 E. Grand, One Bennett Park gets its name from a new park being constructed in tandem with the 800-foot-plus tower. The project utilizes a pair of tower cranes to hang its large precast exterior panels that arrive on-site with pre-installed windows. One Bennett Park will feature 279 rental apartments topped by roughly 70 upscale for-sale condos.

↑Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center

After topping-off its concrete elevator cores earlier this year, the steel-frame structure of Northwestern University’s Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center has quickly come together and is now in the process of installing glass. Designed by Chicago’s Perkins+Will, the 14-story laboratory building is the first phase of project that will vertically expand 30 floors.

The Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center replaces the architecturally significant 1975 Prentice Women's Hospital Building designed by Bertrand Goldberg for 333 East Superior Street. According to Northwestern, phase one is expected to open in late 2018.

↑Optima Signature

Since we last stopped by in March, the Optima Signature project at 220 East Illinois has made remarkable progress. In just a few months, the 381-unit apartment tower has reached its 57-story final height, fully wrapped itself in striking green and red glass, and opened its doors to renters. The 587-foot development soars over its 42-story Optima sibling next door and further ups the amenity ante with two acres of indoor and outdoor space for tenants to enjoy.