O, No! Last Lakeshore East Skyscraper Downsized Again

The plan for the last skyscraper in Lakeshore East in The Loop has been revised again. Building O will occupy the cleft between Aqua and 300 East Randolph. Eventually.

We’ve been waiting for Building O for some time now. Even moreso after an Aqua leasing agent swore up and down that no building would ever be built in that space, blocking anyone’s views. Ever. Prominse. Pinky swear.

Days later, the first plan for Building O became public.

July 2017 rendering of Building O (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)
July 2017 rendering of Building O (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Back when Lakeshore East was first sketched out, Building O was supposed to be a 90-ish story skyscraper. A companion to the Aon Center across the street.

By 2017, it had been cut down; donating some of its height to what would become the St. Regis Chicago, across the park. The giving tree known as Building O became a 55-story three-pack of two hotels below, and apartments up top. A year later, it was down to 53 stories.

By 2019, dirt was being drilled at this site, and skyscraper nerds were hopeful that something… anything… would fill the last gap in Lakeshore East. But that didn’t happen.

January 2021 rendering of Building O (Via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)
January 2021 rendering of Building O (Via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

The new plan for Building O cuts it down to just 46 stories, if you count from Columbus Drive. 49 stories from North Park Drive. Too few, apparently, for two hotels; so it’s just one hotel at the bottom, and apartments on top.

The number of hotel rooms has been reduced 53% from 570 to 269.

The number of apartments has been reduced about 2% from 640 to 629.

On the plus side, there will be a good amount retail space facing both North Columbus Drive, and North Park Drive. Also, the pedway will be extended to connect Aqua with both 300 East Randolph and the Village Marketplace. Hopefully this will be a real pedway extension, and not another line of stripes through the exhaust fumes of an unheated parking again. Pretty much the antithesis of “luxury living.”

January 2021 rendering of Building O (Via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)
January 2021 rendering of Building O (Via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

This is the part where we usually tell you when the public meeting will be held to go over this plan. Well, there won’t be one. This is because a larger Building O plan was already approved by the City way back in 2018.

But if you’ve already got your calendar and red Sharpie at the ready, mark down October of this year for construction start, and April 2024 for move-ins.

Location: 193 North Columbus Drive, The Loop

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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