Fulton River District In Line For Another Skyscraper

January, 2022 rendering of 527 West Kinzie Street
January, 2022 rendering of 527 West Kinzie Street

There are plans for another new skyscraper along the Chicago River.

The latest proposal is at 527 West Kinzie Street. You may know this location as the pie-shaped surface parking lot favored by 20-somethings taking gritty urban pictures of their avant-garde fashions to fill out their art school portfolios. Or you may know it as the pie-shaped surface parking lot just behind the Harry Weese’s beloved River Cottages along the North Branch of the river. Or you may have stood in this parking lot taking pictures of the old William J. Cassidy Tire Company warehouse, back when we we thought it was going to be replaced by a new skyscraper at any minute now.

The new plan is from Vornado, the company that used to sell me rust-colored corduroy dungarees when I was a child, but is now a billion-dollar real estate developer.

Vornado’s new building on the southwest corner of West Kinzie Street and North Canal Street is expected to be 26-stories tall, with 288 new homes for people, and 81 new homes for their cars. This is significantly smaller than the maximums that City Council approved for this space back in June of 2020, so the design does not need any further approval.

Because of the curving Chicago and North Western train tracks bordering the south side of this property, the building footprint will retain the parking lot’s pie shape. This will be most visible in the parking podium pool patio’s prow. Believe it or not, that rail line is still not officially abandoned, and there are people who still believe that one day it will live up to its potential ferrying commuters and tourists between Union Station and the Magnificent Mile. The Cubs won a world series, so anything can happen in Chicago.

So what ever happened to the 33-story SCB-designed residential skyscraper that was supposed to be next door replacing the tire warehouse? According to a recent e-mail from 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, that is still coming. It was approved by City Council almost 20 moons ago, but as far as we’ve seen, no permits have been issued for it yet.

  • Address: 527 West Kinzie Street
  • Developer: Vornado Realty Trust
  • Architecture firm: Pappageorge Haymes
  • Floors: 26
  • Size: 249, 338 square feet (330,000 maximum allowed)
  • Floor area ratio: 9.5 (12.6 maximum allowed)
  • Height
    • Maximum: 290 feet (365 allowed)
    • Mechanical penthouse: 285 feet (340 allowed)
    • Roof: 275 feet, 11 inches
  • Residences: 288
  • Average residence size: 833 square feet
  • Parking
    • Automobile: 81 spaces (228 maximum allowed)
    • Bicycle: 200 spaces
  • Loading docks: One

Location: 527 West Kinzie Street, Fulton River District

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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