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Developers reintroduce three-tower proposal for Lakeshore East

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The revised plan hopes to satisfy neighbors as well as the alderman

An earlier rendering of the green space between the three towers at Parcels “I, J, K, and L.”
bKL Architecture

After getting a thumbs down from the local alderman in December, a revised proposal for Lakeshore East’s largest undeveloped site is set to be unveiled this week. The updated plan from the Magellan Group and Lendlease aims to incorporate the community feedback and concerns that prompted 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly to reject the initial design.

Proposed for Lakeshore East’s vacant “I, J, K, and L” parcels at 197-301 N. Harbor Drive and 452-500 E. Waterside Drive, the original plan was shown to the public in July 2017. It included a trio of towers, designed by bKL Architecture, rising 80, 50, and 40 stories. These high-rises were joined by 130,000 square feet of green space featuring a dog park, a zigzagging walkway, and a staircase connecting the neighborhood to the lakefront.

Parcel I, the tallest of the three proposed towers was initially presented at 875 feet. It remains to be seen if the height and design of the buildings have changed under the new plan.
bKL Architecture

The original proposal failed to address a variety of concerns regarding issues such as pedestrian circulation, garage access, site security, and the desire for “more consistent” separation between the proposed skyscrapers and existing residential buildings, according to an email from Alderman Reilly.

The new plan for parcels I, J, K, and L calls for 1,700 combined dwelling units. While this represents an increase from an earlier count of 1,400, there is no mention of the prior proposal’s 300 hotel rooms. This seems to suggest that the hotel component has been scrapped in favor of additional residences. The amount of retail space remains at 30,000 square feet.

The updated plan will be shown Wednesday, August 29 at a public meeting co-hosted by Alderman Reilly and the New Eastside Association of Residents (NEAR). Scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m., the presentation will take place in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blu Hotel at 221 N. Columbus Drive.

For all the talk surrounding Parcels I, J, K, and L, little has been heard regarding LSE’s vacant Parcel O, which is a narrow sliver located between Aqua tower and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building. Here, Magellan Development had proposed another bKL-designed building containing 643 residences, two hotels, and 14,000 square feet of retail.

Parcels I, J, K, L, and O represent the final undeveloped pieces of the Lakeshore East masterplan. Once occupied by a rail yard and later a small golf course, the downtown community is also home to the under-construction Vista Tower which will become Chicago’s third tallest building when it opens in 2020.

An overview of Lake Shore East showing the proposed locations of Sites O, I, J, K, and L.
Magellan Group/Lendlease