The biggest thing to hit Chicago’s skyline since the Aon Center is about to become a reality. The City of Chicago has issued a full building permit for the Vista Tower in Lakeshore East (363 East Wacker Drive).
Take a slurp of coffee and a deep breath and enjoy the OMG:
CONSTRUCTION AND BUILD-OUT OF LEVEL 1 TO LEVEL 95 OF PROPOSED 95-STORY MIXED USE BUILDING
Now just let that settle in… ahh.
The tower will be the third-tallest in the city, behind the 1974 Willis Tower (233 South Wacker Drive) and the 2009 Trump International Hotel and Tower (401 North Wabash Avenue).
Both of those earlier skyscrapers have SOM pedigrees. This newcomer is a Studio Gang joint, with bKL Architecture as architect of record.
That’s not to say there isn’t some SOM in there. The original plan for Lakeshore East, created by SOM decades ago, shows a building in Vista’s location straddling North Field Boulevard the way that tomorrow’s Vista Tower soon will. But the SOM design is a reflection of its era: a Rockefeller Center-esque mass, not the Chinese-influenced design to be erected in today’s very different world.
It’s worth noting that the permit specifies 95 stories. Three years ago when we began sniffing around what was originally penciled in as Building C, the floor count was a mere 89. But as Charlie Brown would say, “If you have a signed document in your possession, you can’t go wrong.”
Further, the building permit specifies the address as 363 East Wacker. Since we started reporting on the Vista Tower in early 2014 we’ve seen 375 and 381 East Wacker, along with the 363 used since the Autumn. This helps nail that down once and for all. And you can ignore all that very early North Field Boulevard nonsense.
Foundation work has been ongoing since the warm months of last year, and the official groundbreaking was held this past September. But with this new permit firmly in hand, construction crews can really go at it, adding another trophy to Chicago’s skyline.