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Two residential towers with 866 combined units break ground in Lakeshore East

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Cirrus and Cascade are officially under construction

Two high-rise towers with glass and metal exteriors rise next to a sloping downward park and path below an elevated highway. A large body of water is on the horizon.
A rendering of Cirrus (center), Cascade (left), and the new landscaped pedestrian connection to the lakefront (right).
Images courtesy Lendlease/Magellan/bKL Architecture

The northeast corner of downtown Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood is currently abuzz with construction activity as crews simultaneously begin foundation work on a pair of new residential towers. The duo—known as Cirrus and Cascade—will sit atop a shared 589-space parking podium with a sloping landscaped park connecting the development to lower Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago Lakefront Trail.

The 47-story, 512-foot-tall Cirrus building headed to 211 N. Harbor Drive will contain 363 for-sale condominium units priced between roughly $400,000 and $4 million. Its 37-story neighbor, Cascade, will rise 396 feet at 455 E. Waterside Drive and will include 503 rental apartments. The two-tower project comes from co-developers Lendlease and Magellan and features a glass and bronze metal-clad exterior penned by local design firm bKL Architecture.

Cascade is expected to welcome its first residents in the summer of 2021 and Cirrus will do the same later in that year. The buildings will eventually be joined by a third, unnamed residential skyscraper which will rise more than 900 feet above Lake Shore Drive. That site, located to the immediate north, will be used as a construction staging area in the meantime.

The three buildings—along with a planned combination apartment and hotel tower slated for 193 N. Columbus Drive—represent the final remaining pieces of the Lakeshore East masterplan. Once occupied by a rail yard, Lake Shore Drive’s infamous S-curve, and even a small golf course, the downtown megadevelopment is also home to the 1,191-foot-tall Vista Tower, which is on track to become Chicago’s third tallest building when it opens in 2020.

A piece of heavy machinery drillers into the soil in a pit surrounded by elevated streets and other high-rise buildings.
The building will sit atop a shared a podium that will match the level of Upper Harbor Drive.
Jay Koziarz
A stack of metal sleeves sit at the corner of a construction site. A row of taller buildings is visible beyond.
The metal tubes will be used to construct the project’s underground caissons.
Jay Koziarz
A line-up of different sized drilling heads next to a wooden construction fence.
More drilling equipment.
Jay Koziarz
An overhead shot of four construction workers standing around a drilling machine making a hole in the the earth.
Before the towers can climb skyward, crews must dig down.
Jay Koziarz