If you’re anxiously awaiting the start of construction on One Bennett Park (formerly known as 451 East Grand), the new hybrid condominium and apartment tower planned for Streeterville, your wait is over.
Permits haven’t been issued to do anything fun like push dirt around and erect a big freaking crane, but a tip from our very reliable Streeterville Spy Daniel tells us that later this morning we should see the first construction fences go up. In the words of Foghorn Leghorn, “That’s… I say, that’s called ‘progress,’ son!”
One Bennett Park has been highly anticipated ever since the local branch of New York’s Related Companies first showed it off almost two years ago. The design is très New York, as is its designer, starchitect Robert A.M. Stern.
But it’s not the New York-ish-ness of the building that has the local design community’s skinny quad chocmochinos foaming. It’s simply that it’s different. Sure, you can compare it to an Art Deco building like 30 Rock, or a 90s postmodern Lucien Lagrange fantasy. But there’s a collective sigh of relief that it’s not a glass-and-balconies vertical rectangle on top of a white precast concrete horizontal rectangle parking garage. At this point in the century, different=good.
Then there are the skyscraper nerds, who are drooling over its height: 843 feet tall. That would make it the 13th-tallest building in Chicago, knocking the Legacy down a notch, and just one foot shorter than the Park Tower. It’s also almost 300 feet taller than the next tallest building in Streeterville, Lake Point Tower.
In addition to a monumental edifice, Streeterville residents are getting a revamped park. The current angular and odd park bounded currently by Grand Avenue, Peshtigo Court, Illinois Street and McClurg Court is going to be completely redone by Michael Van Valkenburgh. You may remember him from such hits as Maggie Daley Park, and The 606. According to a memo from Related Midwest, the park will feature:
…rolling topography, meandering pathways, an imaginative children’s playground, a lawn bowl for gatherings, a quiet shade grove, a dog park, among other experiences. Related is excited to bring this incredible amenity to fruition continuing to cement Streeterville as one of Chicago’s premier residential neighborhoods.
Both the park and the new residential tower are named after Edward H. Bennett, the Briton who co-authored the 1909 Plan of Chicago that continues to guide the development of our fair city. In addition to authoring the Plan with Daniel Burnham, the pair also brought us Buckingham Fountain.