200 North Michigan: “Transformative” Change for a “Seedy” Stretch of The Loop

Drawing of 200 North Michigan Avenue by BKL Architecture

Drawing of 200 North Michigan Avenue by BKL Architecture

A proposed residential tower at 200 North Michigan Avenue moved one step closer to fruition, last night as details of the plan were shared with the community. The developer, John Buck Company, offered information on the proposed 45-story rental and retail property during a meeting at the Hard Rock Hotel on Thursday, September 12th.

Forty-second Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly kicked off the meeting and noted that this particular stretch of the Loop could use a facelift.

42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly

42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly

“This will improve the corridor and enliven a seedy part of Michigan Avenue,” Reilly said.

Reilly also offered the disclaimer that the final building design may very well be shorter than the currently-planned 515 feet. The current proposal will put the building height roughly equivalent to neighboring structures, including the landmark Carbide and Carbon Building next door.

Design details were provided by Rafael Carreira of John Buck. He explained that the structure currently on the development site is a six-story building with structural problems and asbestos which would be razed to make way for the new construction. The new structure, Carreira said, will be a “transformative catalyst” in the neighborhood.

The current plan calls for 25,000 square feet of retail space at the ground and second-story levels. The next three floors will provide tenant parking, with 432 residential units on floors 6 through 45. A dog walk, fitness facilities and shared common space will be provided, plus a pool on the roof.

Carreira noted a couple of noteworthy design elements. From the outside, pedestrians walking along Michigan Avenue would never know floors three through five are parking lots. That’s because a transparent façade will expose not parked cars, but rather a display of lights.

Rafael Carreira, Principal at John Buck Company

Rafael Carreira, Principal at John Buck Company

Another ingenious structural design component of the building is how cars get in and out. The corner of Michigan and Lake has enough traffic issues, so adding more would exacerbate the problem. Instead, the bKL Architecture team developed an entrance below the street, on Lower Michigan Avenue. Cars will enter and make a couple of loops inside the structure to get to the parking levels.

The developer is requesting to rezone the property from DX-16 to a planned development, which will include an affordable housing bonus. The timetable calls for demolition of the current structure in December, with new construction starting in March 2014 and a completion date of March 2016.


Bill Motchan

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at bill@ChicagoArchitecture.org.

Share This Post On