Second of Three Northwest Loop Towers About to Climb

Rendering of the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin (Courtesy of the John Buck Company)

Rendering of the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin (Courtesy of the John Buck Company)

When we first started this publication almost a decade-and-a-half ago, there wasn’t much to the northwest section of the Loop.  Aside from the towers lining West and North Wacker Drives, and a few oddballs like 181 West Madison, there wasn’t much tall, new, and shiny going on.

That changed in the last few years when two new residential skyscrapers popped up and a few of the office tower gaps on Wacker filled in.  Now the next round of development is underway, with dirt moving, or soon to move, for three new buildings.

The latest out of the gate is the John Buck Company’s new CNA Center, at 151 North Franklin, which received its first construction permits on Friday:

Foundation / Partial Superstructure to underslab of level 1 for proposed 36-story office tower with below grade parking, parking and retail on ground floor.PLANNED DEVELOPMENT – DEEP FOUNDATIONS

The shiny new insurance company headquarters replaces a surface parking lot, a dilapidated Walgreens store, and Chicago’s best Chinese takeaway joint.  Sadly, the Chinese restaurant doesn’t know it’s been bulldozed into oblivion and is still taking orders on its web site.  Somebody who’s not afraid of ghosts should place an order and see if Zhong Kui the Demon Queller shows up with an order of Kung Pao Chicken and a side of lo-mein.  If so, I recommend tipping generously.

Mere feet away, across West Couch Place, bulldozers are busy planting the seeds so another skyscraper can sprout this spring.  215 West Lake Street received its papers one month ago, and will soon sport 33 stories of apartments.

And across the street to the southwest is 130 North Franklin, Krueck+Sexton’s 50-story building for Tishman Speyer. This is, unfortunately, still in a pre-construction phase.

151 North Franklin pre-construction

Covered in snow, and ready to go! Insert 151 North Franklin here.

Location: 151 North Franklin, 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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