Mag Mile’s Lakeshore Athletic Club About to Come Down [u]

IMG_5958

For the last 10 days or so, people have been hitting the Tip Line asking what the heck is going on over at the intersection of Rush and Hubbard, behind the Wrigley Building.

Demolition of the Lakeshore Athletic ClubRecently a metric buttload* of heavy demolition equipment showed up in the parking lot bounded by East Illinois Street, North Rush Street, East Hubbard Street, and North Wabash Avenue.  Digging through city paperwork turned up nothing, even though people like Loop Spy Ryan kept sending in photos of the mechanical beasts slumbering in anticipation.  The nearest demolition permit we could find was for the ramp attached to the old Dominick’s store a few blocks away.  That is supposed to be the location of a second Optima Tower at some point in the future.

Then yesterday, deep inside the bowels of city hall, a piece of paper got a stamp on it and it became official — a demolition permit for the old Lakeshore Athletic Club at 441 North Wabash Avenue.

Once cleared, there will be an entire city block available for development right in the middle of one of the city’s hottest real estate submarkets.  So, what’s going to go there?

Optima Tower II proposal

An early sketch of the proposed second Optima tower on East Illinois Street

The last project we heard of slated for that space was a new Realtor’s building, as outlined in this November, 2013 Chicago Tribune article sent in by Streeterville Spy Brian.  It’s very vague, but describes a building of between one and two million square feet.  So, big.

You may remember that plan, which included knocking down the Realtor’s 13-story headquarters building at 430 North Michigan Avenue and putting up something in the 90-something-story range— big enough to rival the nearby Trump tower.  It was met with enthusiastic amazement by skyscraper fans, and sneered disbelief by others who noted that there just isn’t enough land for a project that size.

The most prominent nail in the coffin came from 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly who told another local architecture blog that he didn’t consider the Realtor plan to be real.  In large part because it would require the demolition of the Plaza of the Americas, which is owned by the city.

Well, as we all know, plans change.  Designs get revised.  And dodging a small city plaza can be done rather easily by a skilled architect.  It just so happens that our spies have seen several very well-known architects visiting the Realtor Building in the last six months or so.  In one case, toting a Tupperware full of home made chocolate chip cookies.  Whatever it takes to win a client, right?

Whether the demolition of the Lakeshore Athletic Club is a sign of things to come remains to be seen.  The Realtors have been keeping everything very close to their vest.  Don’t be surprised if the next update on this comes in the form of a fully formed building proposal announced from Reilly’s office or in the pages of Crain’s.

We’ll be watching.

Update — August 22, 2014 @ 3:30pm:

We heard from National Association of Realtors® C.E.O. Dale Stinton.  He wants everyone to know in no uncertain terms that what’s going on at the Lakeshore Athletic Club block has nothing to do with the National Association of Realtors®.  National Association of Realtors® spokeswoman Stephanie Singer tells us that the National Association of Realtors® decided in April, 2014 not to leave the National Association of Realtors® building at 430 North Michigan Avenue.

*1 metric buttload = .7 shittons = 4.5 crapwagons.  These are all official engineering terms.  No they’re not.

Location: 441 North Wabash Avenue, Near North

This article is the result of photos sent in by someone just like you. If you see something interesting in your neighborhood, e-mail your phone pics to chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.  Check out our Tip Line for ways to tip us off by text message and anonymous drop box.

 

Related Articles

The LSAC Demolition: You Just Can’t Help But Stare The former Lakeshore Athletic Club Building is quickly becoming a former building.  When we first reported the demolition of the Near North edific...
Former Gym Gets Knocked Out, But What’s Next For This Primo Property? Demolition of the former Lakeshore Athletic Club at 441 North Wabash Avenue Demolition of the former Lakeshore Athletic Club as seen from Michiga...
Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

Share This Post On

6 Comments

  1. Is the second Optima Tower finally getting built? It’s about time those exposed foundations get finished and the ugly chain link fence removed.

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      My guess is that something will happen sooner than later. But what you see now is not it. The second tower hasn’t even begun the city approval process yet, and as we all know, that takes a minimum of three months to plow through.

      Post a Reply
  2. That building is, in my opinion, the ugliest on the north side, and possibly even the whole city. There are almost no windows, and just a single weirdly outdoors blue staircase. Will the elevated walkway stay though? It’s attached to the structure of the building, but they (the city?) just rebuilt that a couple years ago. With the recent rebuild of the walkway over Grand, the city has shown it’s commitment to those sections of skywalks. Hopefully something truly impressive goes on this soon to be empty prime lot.

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      Well, to be fair the Grand walkway wasn’t the city, that was a private project undertaken by the building it’s attached to so that it can increase the number of stores on the ground floor. In fact, the building is paying rent to the city every year for the space that the supporting pylons occupy in the Grand Avenue sidewalk below.

      As for everything else — it’s just a little too soon to say.

      Post a Reply
    • Editor

      Thanks for that. But the real trick is to find out what’s going on before the permit is issued.

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.