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Michigan Avenue tower near Millennium Park hopes to rise 523 feet

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The mixed-use project would contain retail, residential, and hotel components

Rendering courtesy of bKL Architecture

A new tower near Millennium Park, developed by Sterling Bay and designed by bKL architects, came into clearer focus on Friday. Fresh details and renderings of the long-rumored project were shared by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly who is asking residents for feedback on the plans so far.

Slated for the site of a vacant four-story building at 300 N. Michigan Avenue, the 47-story, 523-foot structure calls for 25,000 square feet of retail topped by 280 hotel rooms and 290 residential units. The tower would contain just 26 parking spaces in a below ground garage, suggesting the residential component is more likely rentals instead of condominiums.

Rendering courtesy of bKL Architecture

Designed by Chicago-based bKL Architecture, the glassy, rectangular structure features inset balconies and pronounced horizontal striping at the lower hotel levels. Its most striking aspect is arguably an open-air loggia above the base, supported by angled M-shaped columns.

The proposal has the backing of local groups including the Chicago Loop Alliance and The Magnificent Mile Association, according to Reilly’s email. Its request for a zoning change will require votes by the Chicago Plan Commission, Zoning Committee, and full City Council to move forward.

If all goes to plan, the glassy tower will be the latest project to breathe new life into a stretch of Michigan Avenue just south of the river that some are calling the Millennium Mile. Other notable developments in the area include the 41-story MiLa apartment tower, the Chicago Architecture Center, and three recent hotel conversions: LondonHouse, St. Jane, and the Hotel Julian.

The project is somewhat out of character for Sterling Bay, which is primarily known for leading the transformation of the Fulton Market meatpacking district into a hot, mixed-use neighborhood. The group is also behind the controversial Lincoln Yards megadevelopment slated for the formerly industrial land straddling the Chicago River between Lincoln Park and Bucktown.

Sterling Bay acquired the Michigan Avenue property in 2013, reported Crain’s at the time. Its intention to build a residential high-rise at the site was reported by the Chicago Tribune in 2017. The company is serving as lead developer on the project, partnering with Magellan Development Group and Wanxiang America Real Estate Group.