Another GEMS Rising on the Lakeshore
May11

Another GEMS Rising on the Lakeshore

If things aren’t already muddy over at 355 East Wacker Drive, they soon will be. That’s because the first round of permits have been issued for the second GEMS World Academy hoohool building at Lakeshore East. The foundation permits were issued a few weeks ago for the school building designed by friends-of-the-blog, bKL Architecture. Gems Phase II – Foundation systems only for proposed 13-story grade 5 – 12 school with...

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Chicago’s Tallest Building Fetches $1.3 Billion [updated]
Mar16

Chicago’s Tallest Building Fetches $1.3 Billion [updated]

The tallest building in Chicago has a new owner. MarketWatch, the news web site owned by Dow Jones, broke the news that the Blackstone finished up negotiations over the weekend to buy the Willis Tower (233 South Wacker Drive) for $1.3 billion. It’s the highest price ever paid for a building not in New York City. The good news is that Blackstone tells MarketWatch it actually plans to invest money into the iconic tower, returning...

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Near the Top of Willis Tower, Lunch With a View Awaits Members Of The Metropolitan Club
Nov25

Near the Top of Willis Tower, Lunch With a View Awaits Members Of The Metropolitan Club

When you think about it, the skyscraper offers an awe-inspiring view for both the person looking up from street level, and of course, those who look down from above. The view from up on high is definitely dramatic—even if you’re not at the very top. Take for example, the Metropolitan Club on the 66th and 67th floors of the Willis Tower (233 South Wacker Drive). It’s only two-thirds of the way up, but the Chicago skyline from that...

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At Long Last, OneEleven West Wacker Gets Its Coming Out Party
Aug21

At Long Last, OneEleven West Wacker Gets Its Coming Out Party

The transformation of OneEleven West Wacker from ugly duckling to elegant swan is now complete. Related Midwest threw a coming out party for its 60-story residential tower on Wednesday night.  Business is already booming for the gleaming new Loop property, in a bull rental market. In fact, OneEleven has already hit the 50 percent leased milestone just six weeks after opening its doors. That speaks to the demand for rental units in...

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Hotel360 About To Grow Sideways
Aug04

Hotel360 About To Grow Sideways

It’s not even open yet, and already the conversion of the former London Guarantee and Accident Building (360 North Michigan Avenue) into a hotel is improving the neighborhood. A demolition permit has been issued for the parking lot at 85 East Wacker Drive—the slice of concrete pie between London Guarantee and the Club Quarters hotel.   The space will be used for an addition onto the London Guarantee building to form what will...

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OneEleven Resurrects a Dead High-Rise as a Gleaming New Skyscraper
Jul23

OneEleven Resurrects a Dead High-Rise as a Gleaming New Skyscraper

    From Florida to California and the fly-over country in-between, America is dotted with half-built abandoned commercial developments. The empty, forlorn hulk of the partially completed Waterview Tower, built in 2008, could very well have sat untouched for many more years. Then Related Midwest took a chance on it, pulled out all the stops on a massive do-over, and voila! OneEleven West Wacker was re-born. It’s 60 stories...

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Status Update: A River Runs Next To It
Jul23

Status Update: A River Runs Next To It

Construction crews continue their work along the Chicago River turning a bunch of colored pencil sketches into the city’s newest tourist attraction and public amenity.  There have been dozens of plans floated (ha!) for turning the river’s edge into something more over the decades, but this is the first one in a long time that’s actually being built. Loop Spy Daniel sent in this panorama of the work being done just...

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Slice of Life: Chicago’s Most Polite Out of Order Sign
Mar14

Slice of Life: Chicago’s Most Polite Out of Order Sign

Hotels are judged by the service they provide.  A polite bell hop can turn a three-star TripAdvisor review into a five-star TripAdvisor review. So, you’ll have to excuse the staff at the Swissôtel (323 East Wacker Drive) for being used to being deferential.  Even the “Out of Order” sign on a pedway door goes above and beyond to make sure the door doesn’t feel...

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Slice of Life: The Chicago Riverwall
Mar11

Slice of Life: The Chicago Riverwall

Architecture buffs like to talk a lot about Chicago’s famous “Michigan Avenue Streetwall”—The flat expanse of brick, concrete, glass, and aluminum that lines the west side of Michigan Avenue through the Loop.  But what of the “Chicago Riverwall?” With Lakeshore East filling out, and the final gaps filling in along Wacker Drive, the tight line of buildings rimming the Chicago River is more than deserving...

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Status Update: 111 West Wacker is Just One of the Guys
Feb14

Status Update: 111 West Wacker is Just One of the Guys

The facade of 111 West Wacker is pretty much in place, except for the part at the bottom that hides the parking garage.  But the part that 99% of people care about—the shiny, flashy top—appears to be done.  And now that it is, we can start to judge the successor to the 92-story Waterview Tower. In spite of fears from skyscraper nerds, the building actually doesn’t look bad at all.  Some worried that it would be too short and not...

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