New 200 North Michigan Skyscraper Finally Officially a Thing

Diagram of 200 North Michigan

Diagram of 200 North Michigan prepared by bKL Architects

Since the days when it was still snowing in Chicago, we’ve been getting tips about a new skyscraper planned for 200 North Michigan Avenue. We’ve seen names, numbers, even a drawing or two. But it was all provided on the down-low by low people in high places who don’t want their names associated with any kind of project leakage.

So over the last year or so we’ve published what little we could, eventually letting everyone know that one plus one equals 11, and a tower is on the way. But now… it’s official.

Diagram of 200 North MichiganYesterday the Chicago Bureau of Planning and Zoning put up an official notice that yes, Chicago developer John Buck Company and suburban Detroit developer Becker Ventures are asking for permission to put up a 45-story residential tower over two stories of retail designed by friends-of-the-blog bKL Architects.

The plot of land where this tower might go up is pretty small — just 21,760 square feet. It is already zoned DX-16, the city’s most dense designation, which means the developers could go as high as 25 stories without asking anyone for permission.

But extra height is needed to make the project economically viable. They need it to be more like a DX-22 — 12 extra floors. In order to get that permission from the city, the design includes setbacks on the north and south sides of the sixth floor and on the north side of the eighth floor, the parking garage will be hidden by the retail space, the developer will pay $845,134 for the development of “Park and Open Space” in another location, and make a cash payment of $645,966 to build affordable housing in another neighborhood.

The building’s design hasn’t changed much over the months since we first saw it. It’s essentially a blue glass block. This is primarily for two reasons.

First, blocks maximize the available space, which is essential for what is a very very expensive piece of land. The only way to make the numbers work is to go tall and go fat.

200 North Michigan Avenue today

200 North Michigan Avenue today

The other reason is because of the neighbors. The building next door is the city’s precious, adored, beloved, cherished, and very very landmarked Carbide and Carbon Building (230 North Michigan Avenue). Putting up a 515-foot-tall ice cube next to the 502-foot-tall gilded green terra cotta champagne bottle is an affront that will put underpants in bundles from Michigan Avenue to that other Michigan.

The glass facade, it will likely be argued, doesn’t obstruct the Carbide and Carbon Building, it pays homage to it. It reflects the historic building.

Diagram of 200 North MichiganThe owners of the Carbide and Carbon Building won’t complain about the intrusive new neighbor because… wait for it… they’re the same people. Grosse Pointe’s own Becker Ventures owns Carbide, and is also putting up the new 200 North Michigan tower.

Here’s what we know:

  • Height: 515 feet
  • Width: 166 feet, four inches
  • Depth: 130 feet, three inches
  • Residences: 432
  • Retail space: 24,990 square feet
  • Lot size: 45,110 square feet
  • Building footprint: 100% of the lot
  • Roof deck
  • Four ground-floor stores on North Michigan Avenue
  • One retail store on East Lake Street
  • One retail store on North Garland Court
  • Lobby entrance on East Lake Street
  • Going for LEED certification
  • Green roof: 9,537 square feet

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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