It’s the End of the Line for 601 West Monroe

601 West Monroe - Chicago, Illinois - February, 2013 - 002

Pity poor 601 West Monroe — Tossed on the architectural scrapheap before it could even break ground.

Last week we brought you the story of 601’s neighbor — 625 West Monroe, the potentially 75-story tower planned for the surface parking lot between Presidential Towers (555 West Madison Street) and Heritage Green Park (610 West Adams Street).

How does one get 75-stories on a quarter of a block?  You don’t.  The solution was for 625 West Monroe to eat 601, turning the 20-something story building into a grassy gateway to its stronger, better, and admittedly prettier, neighbor.

So why give an admittedly shorter, uglier, less great building any attention at all?  Because hardly anyone’s ever seen it.

There are a few pictures of 601 West Monroe on the internet, but most of them are the wrong building, an old design, or both.

Scott Sarver of smdp explains why this building was going to be different:

It’s got a hotel-style feeling when it comes to the lobby and amenities.  It’s more lifestyle-oriented, rather than the stone-and-steel lobbies you see in the Wacker Drive towers — lots of outdoor space, a roof deck, fitness center, coffee shops and restaurants.  This one is heavily furnished.  It’s probably a lot more like a Starbucks than an office lobby.  

Add another one to the list of unbuilt Chicago skyscrapers.  Although if 625 gets built as envisioned, it will probably be for the greater visual good.

601 West Monroe - Chicago, Illinois - February, 2013 - 001a


Author: Editor

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

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