Construction Update
GEMS Academy at Lakeshore East Now Under Construction

GEMS Academy construction

Lakeshore East’s controversial private school has broken ground.

GEMS Academy is putting up two school buildings in the downtown enclave near the southwest corner of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.  The first, now officially under construction, will be nine-stories, faces East South Water Street, and is for the K-4 students.

The second building, behind the first on East Wacker Drive, will be 16 stories tall, and have students in grades five through 12.  Both were designed by friends of the blog, bKL Architects.

There has been much controversy about schools in Lakeshore East over the last ten years.  Some residents bought their condominiums there believing that a public school would be built there.  Early diagrams of L.S.E. do show space reserved for a school, but with Chicago Public Schools closing 50 schools city-wide and 850 teachers losing their jobs, it’s unlikely any public school will be built here in the near future.

GEMS Academy construction

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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