Recently we sat down with the principals at FitzGerald Associates to talk about a lot of things. Naturally, one of the items that came up was the firm’s much-anticipated One South Halsted project. The 46-story cylindrical tower was approved by the city a little over three years ago, and since then… nothing. Until Michael De Rouin told us, “It may finally be starting to move forward here. We’ll see.”
Editor: One South Halsted is one of the buildings we get a lot of e-mail about; asking when it’s going to be built.
Richard Whitney: You and us both.
De Rouin: When the money and the idea coincide.
Editor: The design is certainly a big break from its neighbors, and pretty much every other building in downtown Chicago.
Pat FitzGerald: The concept there was to do something new. Of course, it’s across the street from Skybridge, which has won many architectural awards, and was a bust for the developer. I’m not sure you deserve awards when you bury your client. But there was no way for us to out-Skybridge Skybridge. So we took that as a challenge to come up with something that would be quite different, but would serve a similar function, because that piece of Madison is kind of the gateway to the West Loop.
I think historically, the center of Chicago has always been Madison and State. But let’s be honest, the center of gravity has moved with the development of Wacker Drive and so forth. I would submit to you that for most people, certainly for those who don’t know Chicago well, the center of Chicago is now Madison and I-94. And it seemed to us that it called for a substantial building, so you’d have these two towers that mark the entrance to this much more low-density neighborhood that stretches to the west. That was an opportunity to create something a little different.