A month after swimming free of the city’s workflow for new skyscrapers, Northwestern’s proposed biomedical research tower (303 East Superior Street) has been thrown back into the bureaucratic flume to resume its downstream journey. This little paper fishy is hoping to spawn a 37-story building designed by Perkins + Will on the site that until last year held Bertrand Goldberg’s bulbous and brutalist Prentice Women’s Hospital.
In December of last year, it was up for approval from the Chicago Plan Commission, the gatekeeper for every major project that gets built in the city. But at the last minute, it was yanked from the Commission’s monthly agenda by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly.
Reilly decided to postpone a vote on the tower because of some late-hour design changes to the side that faces East Huron Street. According to neighborhood group SOAR, “Because of the need to accommodate air intake equipment with terracotta louvered covers, the proposed eco-friendly and art-installation wall at the base of the tower on the Huron side has been eliminated.”
The artistic problem appears to have been solved, as the skyscraper is once again up for consideration before the Plan Commission at its meeting later this week. We’ll let you know what happens.