Construction Update
Just Off the Mag Mile: A Shop is Born

Pre-construction on the Shops at North Bridge expansion (Courtesy of Near North Spy Harvey)

Pre-construction on the Shops at North Bridge expansion (Courtesy of Near North Spy Harvey)

Two years ago we told you that plans were afoot to double the size of the Magnificent Mile mall known as the Shops at North Bridge (520 North Michigan Avenue).  Now those plans are being turned into reality.

Near North Spy Harvey hit our Tip Line last week to alert us to the presence of soil sampling crews at 443 North Wabash Avenue.  That’s the former location of the Lakeshore Athletic Club, and the place where Macerich and the Alaska Permanent Fund plan to expand their highly successful shopping emporium. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to catch them in the act until early this morning, as you can see in the photo above.

Soil sampling is the first physical step toward building something large in Chicago.  Think of those big derricks as planting the seeds of a skyscraper, or a hotel, or in this case a mall.

At the time of our 2014 article, Macerich president Ed Coppola had this to say:

Just like our location for Eataly, this site in the heart of the North Bridge District offers all the dynamics necessary to support incredibly interesting, high-performance street retail and other very marketable possibilities. As we expand our footprint in downtown Chicago, we look forward to working with the city and the alderman to determine the best uses for this exceptional site to maximize synergy and connectivity with the exciting River North neighborhood.

The lot at 443 North Wabash is about 65,000 square feet.  The developers plan to build about 780,000 square feet of retail space on it and attach it to the existing mall that has its front door on Michigan Avenue, and multiple back doors in the city’s Near North neighborhood.  It already encompasses seven city blocks.

It is best known for its anchor, Nordstrom, but is also notable for its Eataly food hall, and having the cleanest non-hotel public bathrooms on the Mag Mile.  Several hundred articles in this publication were written at Nordstrom’s eBar and the former Ethel’s Chocolate Bar over the years.


Location: 443 North Wabash Avenue, Near North

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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