Is The City Trying To Hurry Up the Chicago Spire Replacement?

We’re not going to pretend that we fully understand all of the nuances of the delicate waltz known as Chicago Zoning.  But something popped up on the radar that’s worth noting now, just in case it’s something later.

400 North Lake Shore Drive, Related Midwest’s replacement for the failed Chicago Spire, may soon have a deadline to begin construction.

Site of the Chicago Spire

Where the Fordham Spire, the Chicago Spire, and the most recent plan for 400 North Lake Shore Drive won’t go.

In March the Chicago Plan Commission will be asked to amend the Planned Development documents governing 400 to give it a deadline of May of next year to begin construction.

Unless substantial construction of the improvements contemplated within Subparcel E.3 has commenced by May 6, 2020 following adoption of this March 2019 amendment, and unless completion is thereafter diligently pursued, then this planned development shall expire as it relates to Subparcel E.3 and the zoning of Subparcel E.3 of the planned development shall automatically revert to Residential-Business Planned Development Number 368, as mended on March 29, 2006.

The applicant on the document is listed as “City of Chicago – Department of Planning and Development.”

“Zoinks! — Norville “Shaggy” Rogers. It turns out the Scooby Do characters have last names.

Is this the city trying to put some giddy-up in Related’s plans for the site?  The River North developer submitted a two-tower plan in May of last year, but by October it was scotched by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly.  At the time, Related stated that it would be back. “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.”

400 Lake Shore Drive (Courtesy of Related Midwest)

A rendering of the May 2018 plan for 400 Lake Shore Drive (Courtesy of Related Midwest)

Again, this may be something.  Or it may be nothing.  We’re not one of the law firms that get paid five figures to file these sorts of documents, so we can’t read between the lines.  Instead, we’ll just keep an eye on things and see what transpires.

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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