The long, sad story of 111 West Wacker Drive is finally turning a corner.
In 2005 we were expecting a 92-story, 1,047-foot-tall slender tower of shimmering wonder along the Chicago River. Today, we’re making do with the current proposal: 59 stories. 630 feet. But a skyscraper sized to match its neighbors is better than the 25-story hulk of an abandoned parking garage we’ve been staring at for the last six years.
Now, there are glimmers of hope. Ten of them, to be exact. Ten shiny glass panels have been installed on the north side of the building. They’re not likely permanent, since glass is almost always put on in horizontal rows. Also, these panels have been hanging on the outside of the building for several days now without any of their friends showing up. We suspect it’s the developer or architect examining the durability, color, or other suitability of one or more types of glass for the project.
The other good news is that there are signs of life on the site. There’s lots of jackhammering going on in the upper reaches, and the construction elevator is quite active. But we won’t get out hopes up until a tower crane is installed and this thing starts getting some more height again.
On a side note — Word on the street is that this building is being renamed. Gone are “Waterview Tower” and “111 West Wacker.” The new name is… something beginning with an “E.” Like Epsilon or something similar. The person who told me this was in a position to know, but my brain mostly failed to hold on to it long enough for me to write it down.