Photo Tease Shows 200 North Michigan Inching Closer to Reality

For close to a year, we’ve been tempted by the possibility of a new skyscraper rising at 200 North Michigan Avenue.  It started with the property being sold.  That was followed by rumors. A whisper here, a notion there.  A thumbnail sketch hidden behind a loose tile in the men’s room at Millennium Station (not really, but almost).

Then the stores started closing.  More rumors.  More intrigue.  A “demolition sale.”  And finally, the article we published a month ago, with the diagrams and specifications of the new 45-story residential tower.

But it’s a long way from blueprint to bulldozers.  If we had a nickel for every time someone anonymously faxed us some plans for a tower that would never be built, we could buy The Bean a fresh coat of Turtle Wax.

Now the day is finally approaching when all of our questions will be answered.  There will be a public meting about the new skyscraper on September 12th next door at the Hard Rock Hotel.  Accompanying that announcement was a drawing of the BKL-designed building, released by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly’s office.

Drawing of 200 North Michigan Avenue by BKL Architecture

Drawing of 200 North Michigan Avenue by BKL Architecture

But it’s a total tease.  It only shows the base of the building.  And it’s a night shot.  It’s like trying to watch a circus by peeking under the tent — all you can see if the feet.  There’s an elephant.  And there’s a zebra.  But is that a horse with a sequined rider, or a donkey with a clown on it?  And, is that a wolf?  Oh, no.  It’s just Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy having a laugh.

So to turn the tease into something useful, we broke out our mad Photoshop skillz (and by “mad” we mean “a danger to ourselves and others”) and mashed the BKL drawing into a photograph of the location that we just happened to take on Wednesday, almost as if the psychic fax machine told us we would need it in the next 48 hours.

The result is a little more satisfying.  It at least shows the proposed building in context.

This is what happens when developers don't release a full set of drawings and bloggers drink too much coffee.

This is what happens when developers don’t release a full set of drawings and bloggers drink too much coffee.

You’ll remember from previous articles we’ve published that the new building is proposed to be 13 feet taller than the venerable Carbide and Carbon Building next door.  Pushing the majority of the tower to the southern lot line will give the two some breathing room.  And using blue glass will help reflect the image of the landmark building, and shoot beams of light into nooks and crannies that might otherwise remain in shadow.

Still, there are lots of details to be explored.  Fortunately, all will be clear in a fortnight.  Keep you eye on the site.  Or the RSS.  Or our Facebook and Twitter feeds.



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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