Construction Update
Optima II

Optima Chicago Center under construction

Optima Chicago CenterFoundation work continues on the second tower in the miniature downtown development known as Optima Chicago Center. The first tower, a 42-story black and blue glass monolith at 200 East Illinois Street, opened in October of 2013. The second tower, next door at 220 East Illinois, is expected to rise 57 stores into the Streeterville skyline this year.

The Chicago Architecture Blog’s Daniel Schell visited the construction site recently to see how things are going, and it appears that most of the below-ground foundation work is either complete or in advanced stages of done-ness, with no heavy caisson drilling equipment on site anymore.

When completed in 2017, the new tower is expected to have 498 residences over ground and street-level retail space. An earlier version of the building included a hotel and was three stories taller, but with just 400 residences.

Optima Chicago Center under construction

Location: 220 East Illinois Street, 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. Were they able to reuse all or many of the original caissons? I remember seeing the rebar caps when I’d walk from Michigan Ave to Navy Pier. Was there a previous design floated with renderings, or did they just build the foundation and would figure out the building design later?

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    • Editor

      There was an entirely different building planned for this location. I ran across pictures of it just a few days ago, but can’t remember the name so I can’t look them up again. It was a glass tower, but cut into three vertical segments with the middle portion tallest. If I run across them again, I’ll post them as part of a Neverbuilt Chicago article.

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