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Work on 78-story skyscraper across from Holy Name Cathedral begins

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One Chicago Square is ready to replace one of River North’s largest parking lots

A rendering of One Chicago Square.
Goettsch Partners/Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, courtesy of JDL Development

The skyline-altering development known as One Chicago Square is officially off to the races with the arrival of construction crews working to prepare the block-sized site across from Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral in River North.

“I am pleased to inform you that construction on the future One Chicago Square project, located at 1 W. Chicago Avenue, is now underway,” wrote 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins in an email update to residents on Wednesday.

The new development will tower over Holy Name, pictured bottom right.
Goettsch Partners/Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, courtesy of JDL Development

Wasting little time, crews already erected fencing around the former parking lot and started removing trees and light poles and breaking up the pavement. The block’s low-rise structures along Dearborn Street (except for the hold-out Bella Luna Cafe building) are expected to be demolished within the next two weeks, according to Hopkins.

They will be replaced by a pair of soaring 78- and 49-story glass towers designed by Chicago architecture firms Goettsch Partners and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture. The duo will rise to the respective heights of 969 and 574 feet, the development team confirmed. This represents a slight reduction from previous figures putting the height of the taller building at 1,011 feet.

The towers will feature a mix of 812 apartment and condo units. Below, a shared podium will contain offices and retail spaces anchored by a Whole Foods Market and Life Time Athletic club. The plan, as approved by the city in early 2018, also includes 865 parking spaces.

Estimated to cost more than $850 million, One Chicago Square will be the most ambitious project to date from JDL Development. The Chicago-based developer was previously planning to team up with Lincoln Yards developer Sterling Bay on the River North high-rise, but that is no longer the case, according to Crain’s.

Construction on One Chicago Square is expected to take up to 42 months and will be completed in three phases, according to Hopkins. The project is the most significant Chicago skyscraper to start construction since Vista Tower broke ground in 2016.

Jay Koziarz