Completing Wolf Point: Salesforce Tower Chicago and Its Semi-Public Observation Floor

The Salesforce Tower is the most skyline-defining building to land in San Francisco since SCB’s One Rincon Hill.  Now Chicago is getting a Salesforce Tower of its own.

Rendering of Salesforce Tower Chicago (Courtesy of Hines)

Rendering of Salesforce Tower Chicago (Courtesy of Hines)

Hines made the announcement Friday that San Francisco’s largest non-gub’mint employer will expand its cloud in the Windy City, and sent over the nifty rendering above, showing what  Salesforce Tower Chicago will look like.  You probably remember it as Pelli Clarke Pelli’s  “Wolf Point South.”

Wolf Point South — “WPS” to its friends — is the third tower planned for Wolf Point, the former surface parking lot that once jutted into the confluence of the Chicago River.

The confluential project has already brought us bKL’s Wolf Point West, with 509 residences across 48 stories of skyscraper; as well as PCP’s Wolf Point East: 698 apartments spanning 60 stories rising from the city’s ancestral mud next to the Franklin Street Bridge.

The most recent previous plan for Salesforce Tower Chicago (nee WPS) was going to be 70 stories tall, but that’s been trimmed back now.  It’s going to be just 57 stories. That’s fewer than the East tower, and four floors shorter than the Salesforce Tower in Frisco.  They hate when you call it “Frisco.”

There are lots of numbers flying around about how many floors Salesforce Tower Chicago will be.  Sixty and 59 are popular numbers.  But Salesforce, itself, is calling it 57 stories.  So we’ll go with that until we see some architect’s documents filed with the city.

The 61-story SFO version clocks in at 1,070 feet.  Back when the Chicago edition was going to be 70-stories, it was penciled in for 813 feet.  Now it’s expected to be 950 feet, meaning it will still be the tallest of the Wolf Point trio.  The rendering above doesn’t really show that the new skyscraper will be taller than previously anticipated, but the one below gives you a better idea of how it will stack up.

Rendering of Salesforce Tower Chicago (via Salesforce)

Rendering of Salesforce Tower Chicago (Steelblue via Salesforce)

Inside,  Salesforce’s new sales force will experience what the company calls its Ohana Workplace Design.  It’s an office experience philosophy so thorough, the company actually has a web page about it.

On the surface, Ohana Workplace Design is a steaming bowl of marketing soup, thick with nonsense millennial doublespeak cliches like “sustainability,” “social lounges,” “collaboration,” and “mindfulness zones.”  But this is Chicago, not Baghdad by the Bay.  So the company mindfully distilled it into one paragraph even people in flyover country can appreciate:

In a typical office setting, the top floor is often dedicated for executive offices. Instead, we take the most sought after floors and design them as open flexible hospitality spaces. During the day, our Ohana Floors are open for employee events and then on weeknights and weekends, these one-of-a-kind spaces with jaw-dropping views are made available for non-profits and foundations at no cost — aligning with our values of giving back. Guess what Chicago, we’re bringing an Ohana Floor to the top floor of Salesforce Tower Chicago with unobstructed 360 degree views of the city before you know it!

If this isn’t part of Open House Chicago 2023, some Salesforcer should lose his job.  Or worse — be forced to integrate a distribution center’s inventory management system with Salesforce’s CRM using its Dumpster fire of a programming language, Apex.  Been there.  Done that.  Still have the flashbacks.

If you’re wondering why Salesforce would establish such a large presence in Chicago, don’t believe the politicians patting themselves on the back about the quality of the local workforce (companies like Salesforce bring their own), or how Chicago is “the most American of American cities” (companies like Salesforce don’t care what flag you fly).  It’s because of all the data centers that have been built in Chicago over the last decade.

Salesforce is a “cloud” service.  Which is marketing speak for renting someone else’s computers.  Salesforce has a gigabuttload of those computers in Chicago’s data hotels.  This move puts a big chunk of the company near the computers that it rents to other companies that buy into the “cloud” philosophy.  It did the same thing in Atlanta, Indianapolis, etc… Lather, rinse, repeat, wipe hands on pants.

According to a filing with federal regulators, Salesforce expects to pay a minimum of $475 million for its Chicago space.  That’s $28 million a year for the 17 years it expects to be in the building from 2022 to 2039.

So remember when all those data hotels went up in the South Loop and people whined that they weren’t contributing jobs to the local economy, just turning classic architecture into faceless, windowless blight?  Well, this is the second shoe dropping a thousand jobs into River North because of those neighborhood-killing server farms a couple dozen blocks south.

You can read more about the building in the press release below.

Third Phase of Wolf Point Development in Chicago Announced

Salesforce to be Anchor Tenant of New Tower

(CHICAGO) – Hines, the international real estate firm, today announced the launch of Salesforce Tower Chicago, the third phase of the Wolf Point master plan—a three-phase development designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli—located on one of the last remaining riverfront sites in Downtown Chicago. Hines is developing Salesforce Tower Chicago in partnership with longtime land owner, the Joseph P. Kennedy Family.

Earlier today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Salesforce, the global CRM leader, will be expanding its Midwest presence in Chicago and has signed a 500,000-square-foot lease to be the anchor tenant at the 1.2 million-square-foot tower. Additional dignitaries presiding at the ceremony included Illinois Governor Rauner and Governor-elect Pritzker, as well as representatives from the Kennedy family, Hines and Salesforce.

Wolf Point is located at the confluence of the three branches of the Chicago River. The tower, to be located at 333 West Wolf Point Plaza Drive will rise 60 stories above downtown Chicago, on the premier remaining riverfront site at the epicenter of in-demand downtown neighborhoods and transit options. Salesforce Tower Chicago will be the most prominent piece of the Wolf Point master plan which includes two luxury apartment towers, 2.5 acres of landscaped park and 1,000 linear feet of river frontage. As the centerpiece of the master plan, the tower will enjoy dramatic views in all directions.

Salesforce Tower Chicago will reflect all of Hines’ global best practices resulting in the most advanced and amenitized office building in Chicago. With an average floor plate size of 24,500 rentable square feet, the building will offer efficient planning for a variety of office users. Amenities will include a club-quality fitness center with locker rooms and showers, a conference center with multiple configurations and capacity sizes, a tenant lounge and approximately 25,000 square feet of commercial retail space, including a variety of food and beverage concepts.

Hines Midwest Region CEO Kevin Shannahan added, “This will be our third partnership with Salesforce and Pelli Clarke Pelli. We are thrilled to bring this relationship to Chicago after the success of Salesforce Tower and the recently announced Parcel F project in San Francisco.”

“For 60 years, the Kennedys have been looking for not just a tenant, but instead a company that sees itself broadly as a civic leader. We have been looking for a development partner who sees themselves not as a construction manager, but instead as a community builder. In our anchor tenant, Salesforce, and in our partner, Hines, we have a civic leader and a community builder, and we are ready to commit to our city with the best tenant in the best building in the best location in the best city in America.,” commented Chris Kennedy.

Location: 333 West Wolf Point Plaza Drive, River 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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