110 North Wacker Rises, Bringing Scads and Oodles Along the River
Jul16

110 North Wacker Rises, Bringing Scads and Oodles Along the River

Birds, monkeys, and lumberjacks know the best way to see the forest is from the trees.  That’s why people have been flocking to Chicago’s observation decks for at least 70 years to look down, out, and around at the city’s architecture. Other people who get to see the city from up on high include white color business executives, construction workers, and web site owners like Joe Zekas from YoChicago!.  He...

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Pretty Much the Last Thing You Want to See at Top of Willis Tower
Jun12

Pretty Much the Last Thing You Want to See at Top of Willis Tower

There’s a reason thrill rides are called “thrill” rides. People engage in them for the thrill of cheating death. Even if the chance that something life-shortening might happen is 0.000001%, it’s still a thrill to ride a roller coaster, parachute from a plane, or mention Aunt Margie’s mole at Thanksgiving dinner. What a fully-functioning floor at The Ledge is supposed to look like (File) Huggies were...

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Loop Plot Zoned For a 600-Foot Tower Getting a 140-foot Hotel
Jun02

Loop Plot Zoned For a 600-Foot Tower Getting a 140-foot Hotel

There was a time when we’d sit in the Starbucks in the Hotel Allegro, write stories about architecture, and gaze through the rain wondering what might become of the surface parking lot next to the wonderful Randolph Tower (188 West Randolph Street). 180 West Randolph Street The wondering is now over, as 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly has told his constituents that the West Loop’s Convexity Properties wants to put up a...

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Planned Loop Tower Two Stories Shorter, and 40% Closer to Reality
May20

Planned Loop Tower Two Stories Shorter, and 40% Closer to Reality

It’s been a year and a half since Crain’s Chicago Business let the cat out of the bag about 50 East Randolph Street. Back then, the Thomas Roszak proposal was expected to replace a grungy parking garage with what was speculated to be a 27-story residential tower. Our guess was 35 to 40 stories, and we were totally wrong. May 2019 rendering of 50 East Randolph (Courtesy of the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly) Forty-second...

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New Residential Tower Targets a Different Loop Dweller
May09

New Residential Tower Targets a Different Loop Dweller

For much of The Loop’s recent renaissance, the people moving downtown were college students and young urban professionals in search of the excitement of the big city. Sure, there were pockets of older urban pioneers along Randolph Street and a few other crannies, but they were pretty much a statistical rounding error. May 2019 rendering of 424 South Wabash Now a Florida company wants to bring the older set to the neighborhood in...

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Chicago Places Join Giraffes on Endangered List
May08

Chicago Places Join Giraffes on Endangered List

Just days after the Fish and Wildlife Service started talking about adding giraffes to its endangered species list, Landmarks Illinois put out its annual list of the Prairie State’s most endangered places.  There are a dozen entries on the list, with three in Chicago, three in the surrounding area, and the remainder scattered across the state.  Here’s the endangered dozen: Chicago The Thompson Center James R. Thompson...

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There’s a New #3 in Town: Chicago’s Latest Supertall Skyscraper Tops Out
Apr29

There’s a New #3 in Town: Chicago’s Latest Supertall Skyscraper Tops Out

Magellan Development’s Vista Tower has cemented its place as Chicago’s third-tallest building with a topping out (Out? Off? Whatever) ceremony on the 101st floor of the Lakeshore East building. Vista topping out ceremony (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!) The Studio Gang tower is the seventh-tallest building in America, but will fall to 11th place within two years as four new supertalls are completed in Manhattan. You may...

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Another Skyscraper Ready to Rise on Lake Michigan
Apr22

Another Skyscraper Ready to Rise on Lake Michigan

With all its shiny skyscraper goodness, it’s sometimes hard to remember that Lakeshore East is half a century old this year. Illinois Central Railroad’s 1969 plan for Lakeshore East It was in 1969 that the Illinois Central Railroad decided that its riverfront rail yard might be more profitable as a bunch of residential, office, and hotel towers. Fifty years later, that plan is inching toward completion with the coming of...

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Chicago’s Next Tourist Attraction: A Glass Tube Under the River
Apr01

Chicago’s Next Tourist Attraction: A Glass Tube Under the River

In an effort to build on 2018’s record-setting year for tourism, the City of Chicago has announced plans for a new attraction: A glass-enclosed pedestrian tube running underneath the Chicago River. Speaking to reporters at his Ravenswood estate Sunday, outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans for The Deep Six, a transparent tube running down the center of the Chicago River’s main channel from the Michigan Avenue Bridge...

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Vista Tower Topping Off Approaches
Mar26

Vista Tower Topping Off Approaches

It’s getting harder and harder to avoid seeing the Vista Tower looming over Chicago’s river and lakefront.  The Studio Gang design is turning the heads of tourists, and even jaded locals who only look up and gawk when they want to be involuntarily relieved of their wallets. Vista Tower under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!) In the photo above from Joe Zekas at YoChicago!, we can see the tallest of the building’s...

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