Construction Update
One Bennett Park Starts… Right Now

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.

Rendering of One Bennett Park

Rendering of One Bennett Park by Robert A.M. Stern.  You know he’s important because we’re obligated to use two initials.  It’s a step up in status from people who use only one name, like Voltaire. Or Oprah.

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.

Location: 451 East Grand Avenue, Streeterville

Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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8 Comments

  1. Crews were preparing to fence off the park and dog run this morning between Illinois and Grand Aves, but they were telling residents both would be closed for three years – can any one confirm that information?

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    • Editor

      Three years sounds about right. The anticipated opening date for the new tower is 2019.

      If you’re a dog owner, I know there are information sheets about alternate dog runs in the area available at the concierge desk at 500 North Lake Shore Drive. Even if you’re not a resident, I would think they’d be nice enough to share the information.

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      • At the public meetings, we were told the building construction was projected to be completed by the late fall/early winter of 2018, with occupancy starting in early 2019. The developers said the park demolition and “re-imagined” park would be complete well before the building was online – as early as late winter/early spring of 2017, at least according to my notes. Most of us are still scratching our heads over all the kiddie features at the park – to quote what was said in the first public meeting, “Has anyone ever SEEN a child in Streeterville?”… Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

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        • Editor

          Perhaps the reason that no one’s seen a child in Streeterville is because there isn’t a place for them to be outside.

          According to the Census Bureau, there are around 2,000 children in the 60611 ZIP code (about 7% of the total population), with that number increasing about 3% a year.

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  2. Interesting stat on the kids – I guess if you believe the “If You Build It, They Will Come” mantra, then we’ll see more kids coming to the neighborhood. (Sigh!) I still think our “four-legged kids” will always outnumber the two-legged ones here in dog-friendly Streeterville. (But hey, I admit to being a highly biased, and happily child-free, pet owner) The tots have their Munchkin Mecca, known as Maggie Daley Park, all to themselves – especially since they booted our dogs after promises of a pet-friendly area at the new park. I’m confident the critters outnumber the crumb crunchers here in Streeterville – and the uber-popular dog run, and access to Olive and Addams Parks, convinced us our rental tower was for our pet-friendly family. Guess you could say they’re robbing “puppy” to pay Baby Paulie.

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    • Editor

      I bet you’re right about the number of dogs outnumbering the number of children. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Park District restrict or ban dogs from Olive and Addams in the future.

      Personally, I’ve never understood why people in high rises get dogs. To me, that kind of density is perfect for the childless or cats. For dogs and kids, head to the suburbs. It just seems cruel that a creature designed for running and fetching and rolling around in wide open spaces should be kept in an apartment for so many hours a day.

      But then I may be biased because I work from home, and have spent so much time sitting on a balcony at Aqua, listening to dogs bark all day long out of loneliness, echoing across Streeterville and Lakeshore East day after day.

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  3. “Designed for running and fetching…in wide open spaces…”?

    While romantic, your stereotypical perception about city-living dogs isn’t accurate. Canines are social animals – it doesn’t matter if they’re asked to live in a 500-square foot apartment, or on a 500-acre farm, left alone, without proper training, they will long for their human companions. Blame the owners, not the dogs, for the pet’s poor behavior.

    We’ve seen both large and small breed dogs adapt rather swimmingly to city life here at our apartment tower in Streeterville. Internationally-advertised as “dog friendly”, our building is packed with four-legged children, from tiny little tea-cuppers to massive, horse-like mammals. And our building not only “talks the talk”, but they walk the dog – quite literally. On top of multiple dog walking services, we have in-house veterinary care, regularly scheduled dog-friendly gatherings and a dog run attached to the building. The majority of our pet owners are highly responsible – and this is most obvious because they, like us, shopped for their apartment with their dog(s) in mind, first and foremost.

    Ironically, the handful of children we’ve seen in Streeterville have been encased in plastic-wrapped, shock-absorbing jogging carts for the better part of their formative years – nope, you won’t find any “free-range” kids here in Streeterville! Seems to me it’s the two-legged kids who need to be dispatched to the wide and open fields of suburbia – there they can safely roam within the confines of their fenced in backyards, only venturing outside to the nearby rubber-covered playground to sniff asses and eat dirt with their web-scheduled play dates.

    I’d encourage you to stop by 500LSD during a “Yappy Hour” this spring – you’ll never find a more content and happy gathering of “children”, and their caring parents. And you should consider touring the building – I promise you won’t hear any barking kids.

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    • Editor

      At no time did I blame the dogs. Of course I blame the owners. They’re the ones who chose to bring an animal into that environment.

      I’m well aware of the pet services at 500LSD. I was toured through them by the developer of your building, himself.

      And I’m glad you agree with me on my other points.

      When I’ve lived in suburbs, I’m OK with noisy, screaming children. It’s their natural habitat and I accept it. But keep them out of my five-star restaurant when I’m downtown.

      For what it’s worth, I was raised in a deeply urban, crime-ridden environment (NYC 1970’s), and was also a free-range child. My parents would send me to the corner bar to buy them cigarettes and I’d spend the change playing pinball. I’d chase rats through the weedy vacant lots. Hunt for treasures inside burned out buildings. Carve my name into the soft asphalt on a hot summer day. Ride the subway just to see where it went. All this before the age of nine. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have children, or I’d probably raise them the way I was raised and end up in prison.

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