Spire Site Skyscrapers Shaved In Second Swing

These days it seems like the only thing harder than finding a Cubs game on television is building a skyscraper at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. But Related Midwest is heating up the pine tar to take another swing.

February 2020 rendering of 400 North Lake Shore Drive (via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)
February 2020 rendering of 400 North Lake Shore Drive (via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

You’ll remember that 400 was going to be the location of the Fordham Spire, which failed. Then it was going to be the location of the Chicago Spire, which also failed, yet left us with a giant socket in the ground for a Jolly Green Giant-sized light bulb. Then Related Midwest stepped in with a plan for a soaring two-tower multi-use complex, which 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly grounded.

Now Mr. Reilly says Related Midwest is back with a revised plan, still with two towers, but shorter, and with no hotel.

May 2018 rendering of 400 Lake Shore Drive (Courtesy of Related Midwest)
May 2018 rendering of 400 Lake Shore Drive (Courtesy of Related Midwest)

The previous Related plan called for 1,100-foot-tall and 850-foot-tall skyscrapers on the northwest corner of Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago River. Now it’s been scaled back to 875 feet tall, and 765 feet tall. And instead of 850 residences and 175 hotel rooms, the project is now 1,100 residences, and zero hotel rooms.

The elimination of hotel rooms is an indication that parking and traffic concerns were the leading forces working against this project. The significant cut in height is an indication that Related wants to move forward with this project, post haste.

What’s the rush? As we reported in January of last year, the city is fatigued with featuring a fallow field of failure in its front foyer. In March of 2019 an ordinance was passed giving Related an incentive to hurry the hell up.

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 amended on March 29, 2006.

Put indelicately, “Shit, or get off the pot.”

If you want to smell what Related Midwest is cooking, head to the InterContinental Hotel at 505 North Michigan Avenue next Tuesday, March 10th at 6pm. There will be a public presentation about this project.

Location: 400 North Lake Shore Drive, Streeterville

Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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