Throwback Thursday
Before We Ever Heard the Word “Spire”

Fordham Spire - Chicago, Illinois - July, 2005 - 003

When you’ve been publishing a blog as long as we have, you end up with one heck of a photograph archive. Fortunately, the interwebs gave us “Throwback Thursday,” an excuse to re-purpose our snapshots from ten years ago: 2005.

Back then this vacant lot at 400 North Lakeshore Drive in Streeterville was just a vacant lot.  It wasn’t famous yet. There were no Calatravian visions of smoke rising from the prairie.  No sales office offering a 150th floor lifestyle. And no giant threaded concrete hole just begging for a Godzilla-sized lightbulb to be screwed into it.

This is what the location of the Chicago Spire looked like before the two different developers tried, and failed, to build a 2,000-foot-tall building on this site.  Even the most skeptical among us got fooled.  After all, they built the foundation!  Alas, as we learned, that’s no guarantee of completion.  Later we’d learn not to get our hopes up even if the parking garage was built, thanks to the failed Waterview Tower down the river.  What happened to this patch of lakeshore dirt turned optimists into pessimists, and added yet another super tower to the gallery of Chicago’s neverbuilt mega projects.

Location: 400 North Lakeshore 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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