New Renderings, Info For Lakefront Skyscraper Duo

Editor’s note:  These days pretty much everyone is worried about the Wuhan Flu. With a full-time gig for a healthcare company, we understand.  We’ve also noticed that a lot of the more irreverent online publications aren’t publishing anymore because the world is a much more serious place now.  We understand that, too.  But as rabid news consumers, we also understand that sometimes you need an escape from the latest body count in the morning paper.  So we’re going to continue publishing as long as we can, and in the tone we always have, to give you an opportunity to forget about the state the world is in, even if only for a minute or two.

Back when March was still in diapers, we told you about a revised plan for 400 North Lake Shore Drive, the giant screw hole in Chicago’s lakefront where since 1987, four different developers have failed to erect monumental skyscrapers.  A week after our report, Related Midwest presented its latest vision for the site to the public — a scaled down version of its original proposal introduced in the Spring of 2018.

March 2020 rendering of 400 North Lake Shore Drive (Courtesy of Related Midwest)

Reactions to the new plan were slightly mixed, but mostly positive.  A lot of people seemed happy that something is finally going to be built on the vacant lot that has become the city’s equivalent of a 1982 Chevy Cavalier rusting on the front lawn.  Others were disappointed that Related neutered its original plan, cutting the combined tower heights by 8½%.  But pretty much everyone walked out of the meeting humming “Ding dong, the podium is dead” as if Related dropped a Kansas farmhouse on that mistake by the lake.

400 North Lake Shore Drive sheds its shed.

42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly seems most smitten by the promise that DuSable Park might finally be turned from a radioactive SuperFund site into the lakefront park we’ve been promised since Michael Jackson let everyone know that he’s bad.  He’s bad.  Shamone. Really, really bad. 

However, Mr. Reilly is also crowing about how awesome it is that Related  Midwest has pledged to complete, “Founder’s Way creating a landscaped riverfront walkway that extends to DuSable Park and Navy Pier Flyover.” 

Now, we love Related Midwest the way a cold beer loves a Lincoln Park softball game, but let’s not go overboard here.  The developer of this property, whoever it end up being, has been legally bound to build that walkway since at least May of 2005.

Imagine this logo in shades of avocado and goldenrod. Ron Burgundy approves.

The big takeaway here are that the hotel element has been scrubbed from this project.  That will help ease the fears of the local NIMBY crowd, which was shocked — shocked! — to learn that after moving next door to the largest tourist attraction in the Midwest, that the neighborhood is crawling with tourists!

What we’re excited about is that this project looks likely to happen.  Related states that environmental remediation of DuSable Park should be done this spring, and the way we read city documents, Related has a strong incentive to break ground by May 6th.  Sure, the taller of the two towers is now only 875 feet, instead of 1,000.  But how often do you really need a reference object for one kilofoot?

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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