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1,000-foot River North tower tops packed Chicago Plan Commission agenda

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Other notable projects include a pair of Old Town apartment buildings and four-tower development in River West

A street-level rendering of One Chicago Square.

The City of Chicago has posted the first draft agenda for this month’s meeting of the Plan Commission and it’s shaping up to be a big one. Topping the list of developments seeking the Commission’s blessing is River North’s massive One Chicago Square project. If approved, the skyscraper from architects HPA and Goettsch Partners would become Chicago’s sixth tallest building.

The massive, two-tower One Chicago Square development proposed for the block bordered by State, Superior, Dearborn, and Chicago.
HPA/Goettsch Partners

Slated to rise at the site of Holy Name Cathedral’s block-sized parking lot at the corner of State Street and Chicago Avenue, the two-tower plan was first revealed to neighbors in October of last year. JDL Development had hoped to go before the Plan Commission in December but were forced to momentarily pump the brakes for further traffic studies, per the request of 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins.

While the alderman is still reviewing information collected by the Chicago Department of Transportation and has yet to take a formal position on the project, One Chicago Square has received several notable changes. While the height of the taller of the two buildings remains basically unchanged at 1,012 feet, the agenda shows the second tower has grown from the 583-foot figure shown in the initial elevation drawings to 654 feet.

The plan sees the number of residential units refined from “roughly 850” to a more precise count of 869. On-site parking is up too, increased to 1,090 spaces compared to the 900 mentioned at October’s meeting. Despite One Chicago Square’s location on top of the CTA’s Red Line, its dense combination of offices, residential units, a grocery store, heath club, event space, and a requirement to preserve 225 spaces for Holy Name parishioners meant a big garage was always going to be part of the plan.

Provided city approvals go smoothly, the developer’s goal of a mid to late 2018 groundbreaking is certainly still feasible. Keeping to that timeline, One Chicago Square would be delivered some time in 2021.

The 700 at the River District development will feature four glassy high-rise buildings and riverfront green space.
Goettsch Partners

Up next, the Chicago Plan Commission is scheduled to vote on a new mixed-use development at 700 W. Chicago Avenue. Known as ‘700 at the River District,’ the riverfront project looks to develop seven acres of Chicago Tribune-owned riverfront land into three loft-style commercial towers containing approximately 1.2 million square feet of office space and a single residential high-rise with a maximum of 330 units.

The plan, which is a joint venture between Tribune Media and Riverside Investment & Development, calls for parking for 469 vehicles and a 4.5-acre waterfront park with a publicly-accessible riverwalk. The design comes from Chicago-based architecture firm Goettsch Partners.

A recent rendering of 110 N. Wacker Drive.
Goettsch Partners

Riverside Investment & Development and Goettsch—along with Dallas-based Howard Hughes Company—have teamed up on another project that will go to the Plan Commission later this month. The team’s 52-story office skyscraper proposed for 110 N. Wacker Drive will make its second trip to the Commission in an effort to amend its previously approved zoning entitlement to allow for an extra 100,000 square feet of floor area. Bank of America has already signed on to anchor the glassy 800-foot tower.

A 261-unit apartment project proposed to replace Old Town’s Father and Son Plaza strip mall at 609-57 W. North Avenue is also on January’s agenda. First proposed as a 14-story project with 365 rental units, the development was scaled back a number of times due to neighborhood concerns over height, density, parking, and traffic. The latest versions is even less dense.

A rendering of the 293-unit version of the project that was rejected by Alderman Hopkins late last year.
2nd Ward

Though described by the city as a 12-story proposal, the revised design would rise ten levels plus a partial eleventh floor and mechanical penthouse above. It now contains 261 dwelling units—a further reduction from the previous 293-unit version that was rejected by Alderman Hopkins in September. Designed by FitzGerald Associates Architects, the transit-oriented project would also include ground floor retail and parking for 183 vehicles.

Other projects tentatively headed to the Plan Commission on January 18th include a nine-story, 105-unit transit-oriented apartment development near the intersection of Schiller and Sedgwick in Old Town, a seven-story apartment building proposed for the corner of Chicago and Milwaukee avenues in River West, and an industrial warehouse at 2445 S. Rockwell Avenue in Chicago’s Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood.