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General Growth Building ready to bite the dust for new riverfront office tower

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The six-story building will be replaced by a glassy 52-story skyscraper

Photos by Jay Koziarz

The former General Growth Building at 110 N. Wacker Drive is preparing to come down, clearing a path for a new 52-story, Bank of America-anchored skyscraper along the South Branch of the Chicago River.

After receiving a demolition permit on Tuesday, crews have already started erecting scaffolding around the vacated midcentury office building. A newly arrived barge moored along the west side of the structure will serve as a supersized floating dumpster during the demo process.

The modernist structure at 110 N. Wacker Drive was designed by architect Graham, Anderson, Probst & White—the firm behind Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, Field Museum, and the Wrigley Building—in 1958. The steel and concrete building was once home to Morton Salt and more recently housed the offices of real estate company GGP.

A rendering of the 110 N. Wacker office tower.
Goettsch Partners

Redevelopment schemes for the riverfront site have been in discussion for some time. In 2014, the property was purchased by a joint venture consisting of Howard Hughes and Development Resources. A legal feud between the pair delayed plans, ultimately leading Hughes to team up with Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development.

In early 2017, the partners officially revealed their plan for the site: a glassy high-rise office tower known simply by its address of 110 N. Wacker. Designed by Chicago’s Goettsch Partners, the project also included a 45-foot-wide riverwalk undercutting the tower’s serrated western edge.

The proposed tower was passed by the Chicago Plan Commission in March of 2017 only to return in December asking for an additional 100,000 square feet of floor space. Meanwhile, a historic “adverse effect” federal review of the property was recently completed. The resulting compromise called for salvaged metal facade panels from the old building to be reincorporated into the base of the new development, reported the Chicago Tribune on Thursday.

Once the old General Growth Building is removed, the new skyscraper is expected to break ground this spring. Construction is estimated to take roughly 36 months.

Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz