Why are we so excited about a groundbreaking for a new supermarket in downtown Chicago? It’s not like it’s a pre-Kroger Mariano’s. It’s just Whole Foods: the hallmark of pre-recession soccer mom conspicuous consumption that jumped the shark long before it was munched up by Amazon.com in a cloud of Escalade yoga pants and free range kale chip sippy cups.
The reason this erection has us all tingly is because that Whole Foods will be in the second floor retail space of One Chicago — a two-tower residential complex that will eventually reach a thousand feet into the Illinois prairie sky.
The 49-story, and 76-story towers will take up nearly an entire city block, swallowing up a surface parking lot and a handful of unremarkable brick buildings while maneuvering around a great neighborhood pizza joint on the southwest corner. The project is being built in the parking lot that used to service Holy Name Cathedral across the street. In the spirit of neighborhood residents referring to the coffee shop across the street from Mike Ditka’s restaurant as”Ditkabucks,” we’re going to start calling this supermarket “Holy Foods.”
One Chicago (née One Chicago Square, and now using the address 23 West Chicago Avenue) was designed by Goettsch Partners and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture for JDL Development. GP describes it thusly:
The 76-story main tower anchors the new development’s southeast corner at State and Superior streets and will contain 276 apartments and 77 condominiums. Set back approximately 45 feet along its eastern side, the tower design creates a new urban park that provides a buffer from street activity as well as a sanctuary and amenity for residents, patrons and the public, including visitors to Holy Name Cathedral across State Street. The tower is composed of five vertical, rectilinear bars that drop off at varying heights as the program mix changes. The setbacks allow for multiple large terraces and create a more slender form as the tower rises. Expressive fins varying in width reinforce the verticality of the building, giving the façades a distinct texture. At the tower base, the residential lobby, amenity spaces and a large terrace open up to the urban park.
This is a tough area for complexing such a complexly complex complex. The biggest concern is with traffic on surrounding streets, which is already terrible most of the day. One Chicago handles this by pulling arriving traffic off of the street and sorting it on-property, rather than having cars clog the public thoroughfares. More interestingly, the ground floor loading dock won’t make people wait for a truck to back into a loading bay. Trucks can drive straight in to the loading dock because they park on a turntable and get spun around to exit.
Vehicle turntables used to be far more common than they are today; Frank Lloyd Wright even used them in a couple of his western productions. But they’re making a comeback among people living the lifestyles of the rich and space-constrained. Still, the last time we can remember this kind of vehicle-spinning inside a new Chicago building was way back in the 1950’s when turntables were built into TV stations so local auto dealers could film their car commercials. That was until a little birdie informed us that there is a truck turntable at 900 North Michigan, too!
[April 29, 2019: This article updated to indicate that the Whole Foods will be on the second floor of the retail space. There will be a ground floor entrance. Also, Sterling Bay has been removed from the article. It is no longer involved with this project.]