As the nation’s obesity crisis afflicts more and more of our young people, a new victim has been identified as suffering from unexpected, premature girth: The proposed skyscraper at 110 North Wacker Drive.
This once svelte shaft of glass and steel that is intended to replace the old General Growth Properties headquarters building has unexpectedly bulked out, adding 100,000 square feet to the 50-something-story tower, while adding no more to its maximum projected height of 800 feet.
How can this happen? We dug through the garbage at 224 South Michigan Avenue and found no empty boxes of Chocolate Coated Sugar Bombs. No evidence of candy bars, except the ones that pretend to be nutrition boosters. Not even a single half-eaten peanut butter, bacon, and banana sammitch. Clearly the weight gain here isn’t from what Goettsch Partners has been feeding its baby. So we checked City Hall.
There we found the culprit – a proposed new Floor Area Ratio bonus of 19.97, which brings this skyscraper’s total bulk F.A.R. to 35.97. That’s up from the 33.72 it had back in March, when the bonus was just 17.72. As you can see in the illustration below, 110 North Wacker is never going to fit into its nice pinstripe suit again.
The design on the left is from January of this year. Three large setbacks, giving it the appealing forced-perspective of Cinderella’s Castle. Then on the right, the change approved by the City of Chicago in June, with all the subtlety of an AFC linebacker.
The 38th floor setback is gone. And the one near the top of the building has been relocated from the 54th floor to the 51st floor. The reason for the change is simply that developers Howard Hughes Corporation and Riverside Investment and Development have a potential client who needs more contiguous floor space. And when you’re leasing 30,000 square feet in an as-yet-unbuilt skyscraper, you get to throw your weight around a little bit.
All of this assumes that the project moves forward. You’ll remember that earlier this month we reported that the Army might block the demolition of the existing building. The developers appear to be banking on working around that challenge, since they submitted the revised plans to the City of Chicago just a few days ago.
Revised drawings of 110 North Wacker below.