South Loop’s High Hopes Are Now Slightly Less High

Eraser erasing a portion of the proposed 1000 South Michigan tower

This is what happens when you get your hopes up. Consider your soul crushed.

Before the changing of the calendar.  Before the fat man squeezed down your chimney.  Before the lights started twinkling along Michigan Avenue, there was hope that the South Loop would be the home of — count ’em — three new architectural pieces to scrape the sky.  Now it looks like one of those cloud scratchers will be a little less grand.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Helmut Jahn’s proposed 1,030-foot-tall skyscraper at 1000 South Michigan Avenue is being shaved down a bit.  Well, possibly quite a lot.  Word on the street is that it’s getting a good lopping. The exact figure is still in flux, but the business paper quotes attorney Jack George as saying, “They have a design that they think is more appealing.”  And by “appealing” the owners apparently mean “smaller.”

The reason behind the change remains a mystery, but you can hear the joints crackling as naysayers who bet against all four monumental towers proposed for the rim of Grant Park being built pat themselves on the back.  The other three skyline-changers we’re looking forward to are the Wanda Vista Tower on the far side of Lakeshore East, and Rafael Viñoly’s 76-story double-shot down the street at 113 East Roosevelt Road.

Had Mr. Jahn’s skyscraper achieved its intended height, it would have been the first building in Chicago to top the 1,000-foot mark since Donald Trump’s shiny sailing vessel beached itself on the edge of the Chicago River in 2009.

But before we go… One last look at what might have been:

Rendering of 1000 South Michigan (right) via Crain's Chicago Business

Rendering of 1000 South Michigan

Location: 1000 South Michigan Avenue, The Loop

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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