Waterview Tower Bubbles Back To Life

111 West Wacker

For years it’s been the subject of speculation, rumor, innuendo, and wishful thinking.  Now the building at 111 East Wacker Drive formerly known as the Waterview Tower is finally coming back to life.

Since construction stopped in 2007 on what was supposed to be a 92-story hotel and condo tower, there’s been a 25-story shell of a parking garage sitting in the middle of one of Chicago’s most prominent skyscraper row.  It looks like one of the dozens of ghost skyscrapers we’ve seen across Asia in the last few years.

111 West WackerEvery few months over the last four years some rumor, drawing, or other glimmer of hope would pop up on an internet web site and get skyscraper fans all atwitter.  We ignored most of them because, as much as possible, we try to deal with facts around here.  The internet has enough unwarranted conjecture already.

But this time it looks like it’s for real.

A few months ago new banners went up on the site, and later this month a company called 111 West Wacker Partners will present its plan to the city to take the existing shell of a building and finish it in an entirely different style.

The resurrected building will be much shorter — only 59 stories, instead of 92.  And sadly, it will only be 630 feet tall, robbing Chicago of yet another opportunity for a one-thousand foot tall trophy skyscraper.  The original building was going to be 1,047 feet tall.

But a completed building at 630 feet is better than a fantasy at 1,047.  Here’s a comparison and the rest of the details:


,Old Building, New Building
Name, Waterview Tower, 111 West Wacker

Developer,Teng and Associates,111 West Wacker Partners (Related Midwest et.al.)

Architect,Teng and Associates,Handel Architects and Epstein

Height,1047 feet, 630 feet

Stories, 92, 59

Uses, Hotel – Condominiums – Retail, Apartments – Retail

Residences, 243,506

Average residence size,1800 square feet,830 square feet

Hotel rooms,223,0

Floor space,1.3 million square feet,950 000 square feet




  • Because the revised building no longer has a supertall height, it no longer has to comply with good neighbor provisions, like contributing to the reconstruction of the city’s riverwalk, or having a public winter garden, or a public arcade with fountain.
  • Forensic Engineers: Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates
  • Structural Engineers: Halvorson Partners
  • MEP/FP: Cosentini Associates
  • Elevators: Jenkins and Huntington
  • Interior Design: Kara Mann Design
  • Parking: 439 spaces
  • Floor space: 950,000 square feet
  • Floors below grade: 4
  • Green roof: ~8,760 square feet
  • Dog run on the 16th floor

Author: Editor

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

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  1. granted i would rather see the super-tall original built, but given that is no longer a viable option (if it truly ever really was), why not just take the original design & revise it down to the current floor height? i would much prefer that over this boring box.

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      My guess is it has to do with economics. In the old plan the tall skinny tower portion had 1,800 square-foot condos that people were going to buy for $2-$5 million each, generating a lot of up-front income for the developer.

      With the new plan, it’s a bunch of 800 square-foot apartments that generate smaller amounts of income over a long term. So in order to increase the amount of revenue per floor to pay for the expense of building a skyscraper on such an expensive piece of land you need more units per floor, thus the tower gets fat and turns into a box.

      Just my speculation, but it seems to make sense.

      Post a Reply

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