Optima II Adds Touch of Glass to Streeterville
Apr11

Optima II Adds Touch of Glass to Streeterville

Add a partial row of glass curtain to the list of achievements at Part II of the Optima Chicago Center at 220 East Illinois Street in Streeterville. Optima’s own construction crews have been busy on this site since they started pushing dirt around way back in 2014. The Optima II project has a fun firehose to share with you: Developer – Optima Architect – David Hovey Architecture firm – Optima General Contractor...

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Chicago Plan Commission Approves Assumption Catholic Church Project
Feb19

Chicago Plan Commission Approves Assumption Catholic Church Project

Thursday, the Chicago Plan Commission gave its approval for a multi-dimensional project involving the Assumption Catholic Church and grounds at 311 West Illinois Street. The big addition to the neighborhood would be 3Eleven, a 23-story apartment tower designed by friends-of-the-blog FitzGerald Associates, in what is now a surface parking lot on the southwest corner of Illinois and Franklin Streets. Developer John Buck Company wants to...

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Status Update: Optima II Taking Shape
Sep28

Status Update: Optima II Taking Shape

Early construction work at Optima Chicago Center II (220 East Illinois Street) is really Grand, isn’t it? What we mean is, if you want to see what’s going on at Optima these days, you need to go one block north of Illinois Street, to Grand Avenue. That’s where you’ll find crews burrowing into the soil, creating all sorts of geometric shapes and forms. The 54-story tower by architect David Hovey will deliver 381...

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Chicago Neverbuilt — Episode 9: Not the Optima Solution
Mar13

Chicago Neverbuilt — Episode 9: Not the Optima Solution

Our Chicago Neverbuilt series continues to celebrate the work of great architects that, for one reason or another, failed to make the transition from imagination to reality. Last month we published a status update on the Optima Chicago Center’s second tower, known locally as Optima II (220 East Illinois Street). A reader wrote in asking about the foundation of the building, specifically its caissons which seemed to be left over...

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Yet Another Incarnation for an Ogden Slip Warehouse
Sep04

Yet Another Incarnation for an Ogden Slip Warehouse

We don’t cover a lot of renovations here on the Chicago Architecture Blog, but what’s happening on the edge of Ogden Slip in Streeterville is a little more than your averages self-certified toilet installation. Bill O’Kane is turning the 106-year-old River East Center (401 East Illinois Street), formerly known as the North Pier Terminal Building, into about 300 fancy loft apartments.  It’s just the latest...

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Status Update: Buildings Old and New
Aug21

Status Update: Buildings Old and New

If you want to see Chicago’s landmarks adoption program at work, head over to the new residential skyscraper going up at 212 West Illinois Street. There you’ll see the familiar sight of rows of mathematically correct balconies hanging from a concrete frame atop a parking podium.  Then look next door and see an old Chicago Fire Station from 1887. Right now it’s boarded up, but the developer, Illinois Franklin...

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Mag Mile’s Lakeshore Athletic Club About to Come Down [u]
Aug19

Mag Mile’s Lakeshore Athletic Club About to Come Down [u]

For the last 10 days or so, people have been hitting the Tip Line asking what the heck is going on over at the intersection of Rush and Hubbard, behind the Wrigley Building. Recently a metric buttload* of heavy demolition equipment showed up in the parking lot bounded by East Illinois Street, North Rush Street, East Hubbard Street, and North Wabash Avenue.  Digging through city paperwork turned up nothing, even though people like Loop...

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Status Update: 212 West Illinois
Feb12

Status Update: 212 West Illinois

After being quiet for quite a while, things are trucking along at 212 West Illinois Street.  The residential tower designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture is up to the fifth floor of its parking garage as construction crews work on the 25-story building. When complete, it will have 188 residences over 176 parking spaces, and a restored historic firehouse next door.  The Engine Company 42 firehouse renovation is part of the...

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Inside The New Habitat on Hubbard
Aug18

Inside The New Habitat on Hubbard

If you go anywhere near River North lately, you can’t help but notice the neighborhood’s newest skyscraper, Hubbard Place (360 East Hubbard Street). Rising behind the Merchandise Mart and across the street from the East Bank Club, it commands attention as it plays off its older sister to the north, Kingsbury Plaza (520 North Kingsbury Street). On a recent sunny morning I had the chance to stop by Hubbard Place and get a...

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What’s Going on at 212 West Illinois? *crickets* *crickets* *crickets*
Aug06

What’s Going on at 212 West Illinois? *crickets* *crickets* *crickets*

One thing has ceased leading to another at 212 West Illinois, the on-again off-again residential skyscraper in River North.  It was originally planned in 2007, then mothballed for years, then resurrected along with a deal to be the custodian of the old Engine Company 42 building, then nothing happened for a while, then a few weeks ago what appeared to be site preparations began. Since then… nothing. What was once a surface...

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