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Supertall skyscraper planned for River North parking lot

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A pair of new towers are set to deliver 914 more residential units to the booming River North area

A year and a half after the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago announced intentions to develop a sprawling surface parking lot across the street from Holy Name Cathedral on State Street, we now have a clearer picture of what is planned for the valuable River North site. An application submitted to the Chicago City Council today reveals that development partner JDL Development is looking to erect a pair of new towers at the site—one of which could potentially become one of the city’s tallest if built at the proposed 1,011 feet.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, which first broke the news on the project this morning, the taller of the two towers is expected to rise to 76 stories. At that height, the tower would classified as a “supertall” skyscraper according to standards defined by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, surpassing the 984-foot threshold to be categorized as such. Elevations show that the second tower for the site would stand at 45 stories, or 583 feet.

While a number of tall buildings are currently under construction in the greater downtown area, the tower would become Chicago’s sixth tallest building if constructed as proposed (and following a successful completion of the under-construction Vista Tower). If built at the proposed height, the tower would join an exclusive club of only eight Chicago buildings (including Vista) to be categorized as supertalls.

The application submitted this morning by JDL and the Catholic Bishop of Chicago detail many of the specifics for plan. In total, the redevelopment of the State Street site seeks to deliver a total of 914 residential units, 659 parking spaces, 200,000 total square feet of retail, and 45,000 square feet of office space. The Planned Development also triggers the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance, in which the developer is required to deliver either 91 affordable units on-site or pay into city funds for affordable housing.

The unit breakdown will include a mixture of for-sale condominiums and rental apartments. According to Crain’s, the project as proposed will seek the construction of 795 rentals and 75 for-sale condos.

Chicago’s HPA Architecture was tapped as the lead architect for the project. Chicago’s Goettsch Partners will also be involved in the project, a spokesperson confirms. While no renderings of the proposed tower have been publicly released, elevations in the Planned Development application depict a pair of glassy towers with aluminum columns. The pair of towers will share a large nine-story podium. Representatives of both HPA and Goettsch Partners declined provide further comments or information regarding the project.

The announcement comes at a time when the upscale rental market appears to be hitting a saturation point. Developers have begun offering competitive deals to ink new leases, with some new towers offering up to two-months of free rent. However, JDL President Jim Letchinger tells Crain’s that he’s not concerned as he expects demand to remain high for housing in downtown neighborhoods like River North.