When last we heard about the property at 130 North Franklin Street in the Loop, developer Tishman Speyer was promoting plans to turn the surface parking lot into a 48-story office tower. On Monday night, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly hosted a community meeting at the Rustle & Roux cafeteria a few blocks away to officially introduce the plans for a skyscraper that has now grown to 53 stories, rising 720 feet above intersection of West Randolph and North Franklin Streets.
The proposed tower would provide:
- 1.3 million square feet of office space
- 16,000 square feet of retail space at ground level
- A landscaped plaza boasting 20,000 square feet of open area
- A 25,000 square foot sky garden
- 190 off-street parking spaces
Tishman Speyer hopes to break ground in 2016, with completion estimated for 2019.
The small crowd at 227 West Monroe asked few questions, but pointed questions they were. Two of them — concerns about birds and reflections — were answered by the same feature: the building’s multi-faceted “origami-like glass skin.” With light always reflecting up, down, or to one side or the other, sunlight will cause a minimum of blinding glare for nearby residents.
Mark Sexton, of Krueck & Sexton Architects, explained how they’ve learned from their research on another project, the Spertus Institute (610 South Michigan Ave). The facets of that building have proven effective in preventing birds from crashing into the building’s shiny glass exterior.
Concerns were also raised about traffic entering and exiting 130 North Franklin’s 190-space parking garage. Particularly for pedestrians using the sidewalks on Washington Street, where traffic will enter the garage, and Randolph Street, where garage traffic will exit. The audience was informed that 190 spaces is fewer than the number of available parking spaces on that same surface lot right now, so there would actually be a decrease in vehicles crossing the sidewalks.
And while LEED Silver certification is a goal, Kreuck & Sexton believes it can achieve an even higher level of certification with this project.
There will be much more to come before actual digging begins at 130 North Franklin. Whether or not it continues to grow (5 stories since the January notification) remains to be seen. But if renderings are true, this will be another steel-and-glass gem for Chicago architecture fans.