Chicago’s Third-Tallest Building to Add a Floor

You know how when you get a brand new car, the first time you leave it in a Jewel parking lot, someone manages to roll a cart into the shiny shiny paint? Something like that is happening in Lakeshore East.

Vista Tower. (Courtesy of YoChicago!)
St. Regis-Chicago Hotel and Residences and a Little Bit of Retail and a Restaurant and a Parking Garage. (Courtesy of YoChicago!)

The Saint Regis Chicago still has that new skyscraper smell, but already someone has decided to make changes to it. In this case, adding a floor.

Floor counting is more of an art than a science. It seems straightforward, but real estate types play all sorts of games for all sorts of reasons. We’ve seen double-height lobbies counted as three floors, even though there’s only one level. We’ve seen long elevator runs through nothingness counted as dozens of floors. We’ve seen floors renumberd because of patriotism (1 World Trade Center), or superstition (skyscrapers in Asia and Las Vegas). We’ve seen skyscrapers where the floor numbers start where a neighboring building left off (Las Vegas again).

Regis (its friends call it “Regis”) has 101 floors above Upper East Wacker Drive. Now it’s getting a new one. An 815-square-foot mezzanine.

Some people count mezzanines as floors. After all, they have floors. You can stand on them. You can spill a drink on a rug on one of them. So they must be floors, right? Not everyone agrees, and at this particular moment we really don’t care. The point is that a mezzanine level is going to be added to Saint Regis so that the restaurant can have a private dining room.

For those of you who still adore your TI-85, that means the size of the skyscraper will go from 1,599,957 square feet to 1,600,772 square feet.

There is a downside to this upsize. It means that another still-unbuilt may get smaller. You see, there’s only so many square feet of building permitted within Lakeshore East, and the development currently only has 1,634,422 square feet to play with. That’s for both Building I and Building O to share. So if the Wanda Vista Tower Saint Regis tower gets bigger, another building must get smaller. It remains to be seen if one or both of those buildings will get a haircut, or if there is another solution to this problem.

Location: 363 East Wacker Drive, The Loop

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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