Chicago Spire Replacement Not Dead Yet

Yesterday we told you that 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly decided that Related Midwest’s two-tower plan for the space that failed to become the Chicago Spire is a non-starter.

400 Lake Shore Drive (Courtesy of Related Midwest)

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. (Rendering courtesy of Related Midwest)

The alderman had a fair number of rather significant problems with the plan for 400 North Lake Shore Drive, including traffic, security, the big honking podium, and the mere existence of a hotel.  Fortunately, the height of the towers in the project (850 and 1,100 feet) didn’t seem to be a problem.

Today, Related sent out a statement about what happened yesterday:

Related Midwest deeply values the feedback from Alderman Reilly and the Streeterville community regarding our proposal for 400 Lake Shore Drive. We will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to refine our plan and move forward with a design that realizes the potential of this site – and adjacent areas like DuSable Park – in a way that maximizes benefits for neighbors and the greater Chicago community.

Translation:  400 North Lake Shore Drive is down, but not out.

Mr. Reilly stated yesterday that he’d previously sent the development team a list of items firmly lodged in his craw, but that, “Related Midwest provided me with a response that did not adequately address any of the major concerns about their proposal.”

With Reilly unafraid to swing his aldermanic clue-by-four, we can hope that version 2.0 will jettison the podium, keep the height, and finally heal that big circular scar on Chicago’s lakefront.


Location: 400 North Lake Shore Drive, Streeterville


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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  1. This site has been empty for far too long.

    Just build the Spire or Genslers’ Gateway tower design or something – pretty much just a 2,000 foot tall tower, as first proposed.

    Anything else will be underwhelming in comparison and a waste of space in a city that doesn’t have much space to spare in their downtown area to begin with.

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    • I have to say that I agree. It seems like our city has seemed to have lost the ability to stir the imagination with architecture that suits this amazing city and setting.

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    • Agree with the existing comments ….. build the Spire or the Gensler Gateway Tower. Those are bold architectural statements, and would show Chicago‘s true innovative character. Chicago is the home of the skyscraper, we should at least have the tallest building in the US. Anything less ….. is well, underwhelming and uninspiring.

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  2. Please Related Midwest, just build something iconic at least 2000 ft tall. Chicago deserves to be home of the tallest and your area is perfect for it. Many would kill just to have that location on the lake.

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