Revised Lakeshore East Plan is More Green and More of the Same [updated]
Aug29

Revised Lakeshore East Plan is More Green and More of the Same [updated]

The proposal to erect three new skyscrapers in the northeast corner of Lakeshore East took another step forward tonight. At the second public meeting about the project from Magellan Development and Lendlease, a revised plan received acknowledging nods, and not much else.  But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When the first iteration was voilàed last July, few credible people had anything bad to say about bKL...

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Swissôtel’s Awkward Protrusion to Get Bigger
Aug28

Swissôtel’s Awkward Protrusion to Get Bigger

Since Lakeshore East is in the news this week, here’s a little nugget of neighbor news: The Swissôtel at 323 East Wacker Drive is getting a small expansion. If you’ve ever walked by the hotel, you may have noticed the awkward outdoor seating area next to the slightly-less-awkward annex that houses The Palm restaurant. That outdoor seating area is going away, to be replaced by an annex to the annex to the hotel in order to...

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♫ Lakeshore East / It Has a Plan / I-J-K-L-O ♫
Aug27

♫ Lakeshore East / It Has a Plan / I-J-K-L-O ♫

Channel your inner four-year-old, and sing along. Lakeshore East, it has a plan I – J – K – L – O And to this plan, were drawn some NIMBYS I – J – K – L – O With a “view” “view” here And a “school” “school” there Here a critic, there a critic Everyone’s a civic cynic Lakeshore East, it has a plan I – J – K – L...

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Aon Center’s Glass Elevator-to-the-Sky to be Unveiled Tonight
May14

Aon Center’s Glass Elevator-to-the-Sky to be Unveiled Tonight

Glass as an amusement is a big thing these days.  It seems to have started with that glass bridge over the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai reservation in Arizona. Now we have a glass slide at the top of the U.S. Bank Building in Los Angeles.  The glass “ledges” at the top of the Willis Tower. The glass “tilt” mechanism at the top of 875 North Michigan.  And now the Aon Center is getting in on the transparent...

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GEMS Upper School Gets More Permits
Feb12

GEMS Upper School Gets More Permits

The second GEMS World Academy (355 East Wacker Drive) school building in Lakeshore East has been given the green light to start another round of construction.  The City of Chicago has issued permits to start work on the part of the bKL Architecture project that you might actually see. FOUNDATION AND SUPERSTRUCTURE FROM LOWER WACKER TO UPPER WACKER TO INCLUDE UNDERSLAB PLUMBING FOR PROPOSED 13-STORY GRADE 8 – 12 SCHOOL.  CAISSON...

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Mixed Messages at the New GEMS School in Lakeshore East
Dec18

Mixed Messages at the New GEMS School in Lakeshore East

What’s going on at the GEMS World Academy in Lakeshore East? It was just last week that the school held a dedication for its “Upper School.”  The Upper School, to be located at 355 East Wacker Drive, is the second of two buildings in the complex.  It is designed to serve students in fifth through 12th grades. You’ll remember the bKL-designed GEMS “Lower School” building opened amid much hoopla in...

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Alderman Sends Three-Tower Lakeshore East Plan Back to the Drawing Board
Dec13

Alderman Sends Three-Tower Lakeshore East Plan Back to the Drawing Board

Remember that sultry, silvery sliver of a skyscraper that you lusted after during the summer?  Well, the gales of December have blown in, and you can just forget about her. 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly has informed Magellan Development and LendLease that their proposed three-tower plan for completing the northeast corner of Lakeshore East is a non-starter. Mr. Reilly says he received hundreds of comments from his constituents...

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GEMS Second Building in Lakeshore East Gets Cut in Half
Sep26

GEMS Second Building in Lakeshore East Gets Cut in Half

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like the GEMS Academy’s current schoolhouse on East South Water Street for grades one through four.  The bKL-designed institution fits in well with its neighboring buildings, actively respects the highly-curated slice of nature across the street, and fills in an infrastructure gap that was open for too long. As we reported back in July, construction is underway on the second GEMS...

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Vista Tower Comes Into View
Aug23

Vista Tower Comes Into View

The Vista Tower (363 East Wacker Drive) — one of Chicago’s near-future showcase pieces — is rising quickly along the main branch of the Chicago River.  So quickly that it’s already visible to passing tour boats. These pictures from Joe Zekas at YoChicago! show not only the Studio Gang-designed building going up, but also the column-free area in the center, where East Upper Wacker Drive will finally be connected to North...

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Construction Begins on Second GEMS Academy Building
Jul26

Construction Begins on Second GEMS Academy Building

Is it possible to start construction on a new school building in downtown Chicago without anyone noticing?  Yes, if you hide that construction in plain sight. The second GEMS Academy classroom building has begun construction on East Wacker Drive — right in the shadow of the massive 95-story Vista Tower going up in Lakeshore East. A formal groundbreaking ceremony was held in April of 2015, but construction is only now beginning in...

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