New Loop Skyscraper Means Batman Will Have to Find Somewhere Else to Park

200 West Randolph Street proposal courtesy of Beitler Real Estate Services

200 West Randolph Street proposal courtesy of Beitler Real Estate Services

The parking garage that played a supporting role in the movie Batman Begins may be torn down to make room for a new office tower.

200 West Randolph Street proposal courtesy of Beitler Real Estate Services

200 West Randolph Street proposal courtesy of Beitler Real Estate Services

The garage at 200 West Randolph Street  got an extensive makeover when movie producers used it for a number of scenes in the film Batman Begins in the summer of 2004. It is in this garage that the Batmobile has a chase with police, bursts through a concrete wall and onto the roof of a neighboring building, and where Batman, himself, runs across a number of Loop rooftops pretending to be a gritty part of Gotham City.

To be truthful, the intersection of North Wells Street and West Randolph Street was much grittier in those days. But as more residential development has squeezed into The Loop, it’s cleaned up quite a bit in the last few years. Now some of the office demand from North Wacker Drive appears to be pushing back, with this proposal for a new Class A office building.

The parking garage takes up less than a quarter of the city block, so the building is only going to be 23-stories tall, but is the first new office building in the immediate area since 155 North Wacker broke ground in 2007.

The new building is one of the few recent proposals that actually lives up to its “transit-oriented” billing — There’s a CTA Brown, Green, Purple, Pink, and Orange Line station one block south, a CTA Blue Line station one block north, and close access to the Madison Street, Washington Street, Wacker Drive, and LaSalle Street bus corridors.

There aren’t too many residential buildings nearby — the newly renovated Randolph Tower across the street, 200 Squared a block to the north, the seemingly-in-limbo Century Tower, and various lofts and condominiums built into miscellaneous smaller buildings. Those residents tend to be younger urban dwellers who understand that if you live in the city, you’re going to get noise, so we don’t expect much opposition to this project.

For the most part, the building complies with existing city zoning, except for a proposed rooftop deck and reception space that would be used by the anchor tenant. The developer is not asking for any TIF money from the city.

200 West Randolph Street proposal courtesy of Beitler Real Estate Services

200 West Randolph Street proposal courtesy of Beitler Real Estate Services

We don’t normally make much of public art in Chicago, in large part because we don’t know much about art and what’s good versus bad art (we loved Forever Marilyn, sorry!). But we know a few big art names, and Dale Chihuly is one of them. The glass sculptor is a legend in the Pacific Northwest, and just got his own museum at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle (you may have seen his work in the background of the TV series Frasier). The developers of 200 West Randolph are commissioning Mr. Chihuly to create a large piece of art to run along the Wells Street side of the building, and be visible to the public on both Wells and Randolph Streets.

Details are as follows:

  • Developer: Beitler Real Estate Services
  • Developer: Next Realty
  • Architecture firm: Lothan Van Hook DeStefano (LVDA)
  • Height: 310 feet
  • Floors: 25 (23 traditional floors + rooftop reception penthouse + mechanical floor)
  • Size: 407,760 square feet
  • Facade: Clear and white glass
  • Parking: 135 spaces on three floors (current garage is 510 spaces)
  • Trying for LEED Silver certification through
    • Daylight harvesting
    • Water-saving plumbing
    • Solar heating for hot water service
    • Low-VOC materials
    • Lights that turn themselves off when no one is present
    • High-efficiency glazing
    • Bicycle parking
    • Lockers and showers for bicycle commuters
  • Construction time: 18 months

For extra giggles, check out the photo gallery below.  It contains pictures of the filming of Batman Begins on top of the 200 West Randolph Street parking garage published in this blog nine long years ago.  Plus a couple of bonus pictures of a Gotham City police helicopter parked at at the WGN-TV  helipad (IL70) in North Center.  Sorry for the quality of the images.  It’s hard to remember, but 2004 was still very early on in the advent of digital photography, and these were taken from some distance with a state-of-the-art ONE megapixel camera.

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