Jahn’s Michigan Avenue Skyscraper Downsizes Again, Switches to Apartments

One of the city’s most visible locations was supposed to get one of the city’s most visible skyscrapers designed by one of the industry’s most visible architects.  But progress has been invisible at 1000 South Michigan Avenue since construction was halted last June.

Rendering of 1000M (Courtesy of Time Equities)
June 2017 Rendering of 1000M (Courtesy of Time Equities)

At the time, the public relations company for 1000M told us that it was because of concerns about COVID.  A statement sent to us read, in part, “We had workers underground, working shoulder to shoulder, making it effectively impossible to maintain proper social distancing.”

So, what’s been going with the Helmut Jahn-designed project for the last eight months?  Apparently a re-design.  The developers of 1000M filed paperwork with the city recently changing a number of aspects about the tower that is supposed to one day border Grant Park.

This is at least the third redesign for the tower.  There was one we told you about back in July of 2020, and Crain’s Chicago Business reported an even bigger one back in 2016.

This most recent change involves yet another haircut for what was originally going to be a 1,030-foot-tall skyscraper.  The new plan has it down to 805 feet and 73 floors.  At the same time, developers JK Equities and Time Equities want to increase the maximum number of residences in this building from 506 to 738.  How do you cut height, but still increase the number of units by 46%?  By switching to apartments.  The documents filed with the city show these won’t be condos anymore.

Even when this project was new, half a decade ago, the developers said publicly that they were targeting buyers looking for smaller places to live.  That may work in some cities. But in the 18 years we’ve been publishing, we’ve seen several developers try to court the pied-à-terre set, only to learn that Chicago is “Paris on the Prairie” in slogan only.  And in a post-COVID world, commute times are expected to be much shorter, making the purchase of a crash pad in downtown even less attractive.

With 1000M going apartment, it will be interesting to see how the marketing message will be massaged.  You can still sell the big-name architect.  You can still sell the location.  But you can’t pretend that 400 square feet is “luxury.”  You’d get more elbow room renting a detached garage in North Center.

On the other hand, it could be the fanciest dorm ever for Columbia College, which has two adjacent buildings.

Here are the new specs for the project, which includes the neighboring building, and a weird slice of surface parking off South Wabash Avenue:

  • Address: 920-1006 South Michigan Avenue
  • Address: 1011-1015 South Wabash Avenue
  • Architecture firm: Jahn 
  • Maximum height: 
    • 1000M: 805 feet
    • 1006 South Michigan: 102 feet
  • Roof height: 791 feet, five inches (1000M)
  • Width: 113 feet, four inches (1000M)
  • Length: 240 feet, 10 inches (1000M)
  • Site size: 
    • 1000M: 32,339 square feet
    • 1006 South Michigan: 13,948 square feet
  • Floor area ratio: 21.22 (16 base + 1.43 for hiding the parking garage + 2.26 for setbacks + 1.03 for including 23 affordable units in the building and also making a contribution to the Affordable Housing fund + .5 for contributing to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, Adopt-a-Landmark Fund, and the Local Impact Fund)
    • 1000M: 27.94
    • 1006 South Michigan: 5.66
  • Floor area: 982,336 square feet
    • 1000M: 903,455 square feet
    • 1006 South Michigan:78,881 square feet
  • Maximum residences: 738
    • 1000M: 738
    • 1006 South Michigan: zero
  • Maximum automobile parking:
    • 1000M: 320 spaces
    • 1006 South Michigan: zero
  • Maximum bicycle parking: 
    • 1000M: 356
    • 1006 South Michigan: zero
  • Loading docks: 4
    • 1000M: 3
    • 1006 South Michigan: 1
  • Green roof: 12,733 square feet
  • The strip of parking that connects 1000M to South Wabash Avenue will be used for a dog run with fake grass and a driveway for the tower parking garage.

Location: 1000 South Michigan Avenue, South 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.

Share This Post On