Waving a Magic Wanda

Wanda Tower under construction

Are you the sort of person who enjoys rejection? Need to feel like everybody hates you?  Well, have I got a way to feed your beast.  Start asking Chicago’s leading architects and developers about the Wanda Tower.  You’ll get the door slammed in your face faster than a ketchup salesman in Wrigley Field.

Drawing of the Wanda Tower at Lakeshore East

Drawing of the Wanda Tower at Lakeshore East, courtesy of the Wanda Group

Ever since the richest man in China put out a press release stating that he was going to build an 11-hundred-foot-tall hotel and condo building at Lakeshore East, we’ve received an incredible number of e-mails from our readers craving more information.

Our research indicates that one of the following is true: Nobody knows anything and they’re mad about being left out of the loop, or everybody knows something and are double-pinky-sworn to secrecy about it.

To date, we have only been able to confirm two things beyond the Wanda Group’s press release: The general contractor is McHugh Construction, and the architect is Jeanne Gang.

But that isn’t keeping curious neighbors from wondering what’s going on in the dogpatch along the few hundred feet of street known as North Field Boulevard.

Loop Spy Scott smacked the tip line to send in the photo below of heavy equipment hefting heavy heaps of heath from the ick that passes for dirt at Lakeshore East.  We’ve received e-mails from other people, including Loop Spy Brian, telling us that the work is getting quite extensive.  It’s a good sign that one thing will eventually lead to another and we’ll see a tower of some kind rise at this location.  Before a building can scrape the sky, it has to plant deep roots.  Step one is knowing what’s underground.

Wanda Tower under construction


Location: 375 East Wacker Drive, The Loop



Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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  1. The suspense is killing me :)

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  2. Do you have any information about the planned cutouts on both Wacker and Lower LSD for extended roadways? You can see the upper level here was designed to turn to the south, and the middle level also has turn lanes to go to the south, complete with pavement markings indicating the turn lane that never lead anywhere. On the north side of the river, lower LSD also has the same traffic pork chops and cutouts to head west right into the heart of the Spire site. The islands have since been filled in with other concrete to keep the sidewalk level, but you can see the distinct curves for vehicles to follow. Do you know anything about planned developments for either of these site that would’ve used these cutouts? I know that LSD used to travel due north to the river then make a hard 90 to parallel the river and another hard 90 north across the river. The only other place I can think of off the top of my head that is like this is Clark Street immediately south of Roosevelt which has cutouts and even a fully functioning stoplight for an entrance to the lot that has never been anything. Why that stoplight is even on since it’s only ever been green I don’t know, but that site too I would love to find out why they built it in without a firm development plan.

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    • Editor

      Wow, that’s a long question. I’m only going to answer part of it because I’m lazy and busy handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

      At one time there was a plan to extend Upper Wacker Drive further eastward, but not all the way to Lake Shore Drive. It was going to hook up to North Harbor Drive. Is that still possible? Maybe. There is still a gap between the Regatta and the Chandler. North Harbor Drive has always been a hard part of the city to live in. Sure, you’re in the heart of downtown, but getting anywhere is a royal pain, and CTA service is limited to the 60 bus.

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