Lakeshore East Tower Trio Tipped in Text

It looks like the plan to build three new skyscrapers in the northeast corner of Lakeshore East is getting ready to move forward.

August 2018 rendering of Lakeshore East (Courtesy of Magellan Development)

August 2018 rendering of Lakeshore East (Courtesy of Magellan Development)

Ordinance number 2018-7759 has been filed with the city’s zoning committee.  The contents of the ordinance have not been made public as of this writing, but it is a request to re-zone the land where Magellan Development and LendLease plan to erect three new bKL-designed skyscrapers, almost completing the Lakeshore East development.  A project which has been in the works since the Richard J. Daley administration.

Illinois Central Railroad's 1969 plan for Lakeshore East

Illinois Central Railroad’s 1969 plan for Lakeshore East

The three latest towers are known as Building I, Building J, and Building KL.  Building I is planned to be the tallest, standing 80 stories and 875 feet tall.  Building J is next at 50 stories and 550 feet.  KL is the most diminutive of the three, with 40 stories in 430 feet of verticality.

This illustrates an interesting point about buildings in Chicago.  The 40-story KL building is seen as routine business.  But in most other cities around the world — even well-known capitals like London or Paris or Tokyo — a 40-story building would be an enormous to-do.  Chicago’s just awesome that way.

July 2017 Rendering of Tower O (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

July 2017 Rendering of Tower O (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Still unanswered is the story of O.   Building O is the last opportunity for a major tower to go up in Lakeshore East.  Hotel ideas have been repeatedly floated for this space between Aqua and 300 East Randolph Street, but in spite of some pretty good renderings, we’ve seen little public movement on this.

With any luck, once everything is worked out for the northeast trio, Magellan can turn its attention to this conspicuous space and kick things back into gear.

Location: 452-500 East Waterside Drive, 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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