Chicago Neverbuilt: Episode 3 — There Goes the Sun

Sunbelt Tower drawing, courtesy of Goettsch Partners

Sunbelt Tower drawing, courtesy of Goettsch Partners

Our Chicago Neverbuilt series continues to celebrate the work of great architects that, for one reason or another, failed to make the transition from imagination to reality.

The Sunbelt Tower (460 North Columbus Drive) comes from friends-of-the-blog Goettsch Partners, and is featured in their monograph.  It was slated to go in the slot just north of the NBC Tower (454 North Columbus Drive).  Sadly, today it remains a surface parking lot.

The Sunbelt Tower was designed to be 42-stories tall—just a few stories taller than NBC—and have 1.2 million square feet of office space.  The northern third of the design is shifted to the east, and the southern third shifted to the west, which creates lots of corner offices, which is a big deal back in 2001 when this design was made.  Even today the “corner office count” is a big selling point for law firms, sales outfits, and other companies that still cling to last-century office aesthetics.

Location: 460 North Columbus Drive, Streeterville


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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  1. This proposal really didn’t get all that far along, and that’s okay by me. This site deserves something much more spectacular than this proposal. The recently proposed 590 W. Madison doesn’t look all that much different from this design.Victor Adams

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  2. Yes, this site is perfect for a future iconic supertall with high visibility from all over the city.

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  3. Here’s a question, which property will get built up first between this plot and the previous Neverbuilt subject next to the new Lowes tower just a block east? Also, which will be taller/more impressive? All hypothetical of course, but I like to hear quality discussions.

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    • Editor

      The location next to the NBC Tower is worth more money than the plot next to the Loews tower. Intuitively, you’d think that would make it a higher priority to develop. But at the same time, that extra value also means that the building will have to be bigger and cost more to pay for itself.

      A lot of it depends on the owner and how interested that owner is in turning their land bank into a building. It’s a tough balancing act — sit on the land and hope to cash in all at once selling it to someone else, or build a building there and hope to make your money back a little at a time over the long haul.

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  4. I know why this one never got built. The NBC Tower screams for a second tower taller and of the same construction style sort of like the towers of Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The twin towers here are actually kinda lame or anticlimatic for that site.

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