Here They Grow Again: Lakeshore East Breaks Ground on Two New Skyscrapers

Hands will be shaken, smiles will be flashed, and ground will be broken today on Cirrus and Cascade, the latest skyscrapers to rise at Lakeshore East.  They’re the newest towers to go up at the lake-adjacent former rail yard that Magellan Development has been turning into a rather nice residential community over the last couple of decades.  This time, Aussie Lendlease is lending a hand.  So to speak.

Rendering of Cirrus (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of Cirrus (Courtesy of Lendlease)

Cirrus will be a 559-foot-tall, 47-story condominium building designed by neighbors bKL Architecture with 363 new homes to the complex.  It’s located just north of The Parkshore, and less than 500 feet from Lake Michigan.  Units will range from 650 to over 3,000 square feet.

Cascade will be a 452-foot-tall, 37-story apartment building, also designed by bKL Architecture.  About 500 families will be movin’ on up to the de-luxe apartments in the sky.  While it shares the same podium as Cirrus, it is to the west of that building, and just north of North Harbor Tower.  

It will surprise no one that the apartment building gets the fuzzy end of the lollypop when it comes to water views.  But both towers will border the new Cascade Park, which forms the transition from the very elevated North Harbor Drive down to lake level.   It’s a little under an acre in size, and was designed by Claude Cormier + Associés out of Montréal.  That firm has worked on an interesting array of spaces from wineries to breakwaters to the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach.  

The location of Cirrus and Cascade. (Base map via Apple Maps)
The location of Cirrus and Cascade. (Base map via Apple Maps)

It’s a fact of life in Chicago that no matter what your real estate agent tells you, no home’s views are guaranteed.  The same real estate agent that sold you that “two bedroom luxury West Loop apartment” that turned out to be a 500-square-foot convertible in South Austin will tell you that a church owns the property across the street and the land will never be developed, and oh yes, make the commission check out to “cash.”

But if you choose to live at Cirrus, getting an east-facing view is about as close to a guaranteed view as you can get.  The only thing between you and the vast expanse of Lake Michigan is 13 lanes of Lake Shore Drive.  So unless a charismatic boat captain beaches his craft in DuSable Harbor, fills the harbor with garbage, declares it an independent state, and sells the property to people so that eventually 100-story skyscrapers are built there, everything should be fine.  After all, what are the chances of that happening in Chicago… again?

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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