After decades of on-again, off-again plans both big and small, the latest grand plan for Chicago’s Wolf Point is about to go from pixels to pilings.
Friends-of-the-Blog, bKL Architecture , tell us that construction will start Wednesday, July 31st, 2013.
Wolf Point (350 North Orleans Street) is a massive $1 billion project from Hines and the Kennedy family that will turn the surface parking lot jutting out into the confluence of the Main and North branches of the Chicago River into a three-tower apartment, office, and hotel complex.
The first tower to go up will be the West Tower, designed by Chicago’s own bKL. We published a long article about four months ago on the tower where bKL explains how the design became what it is. The residential skyscraper will be 493 feet tall, perched on columns 40 feet above a new riverwalk.
The star of the show won’t be built until phase two. It’s the South Tower, a 950-foot-tall curving tower from Pelli Clarke Pelli in Connecticut. Because of space constrictions and to reduce the impact on the neighborhood, Phase II won’t be started until Phase I is completed. However, the good news is that Phase I includes not only the north bank riverwalk, but also much of the public park area, as well as adding a southbound traffic lane to North Orleans Street.
With construction going on at both Wolf Point for the 50-story West Tower, and across the river on the 45-story River Point (444 West Lake Street), and potentially some federally-funded work on the south bank riverwalk, this river junction is going to get very noisy very quickly. And when the cranes and barges are in place, it certainly will look impressive to people on tour boats and water taxis — Reminiscent of the Chicago of the 1950’s when it was a bustling city-on-the-move.