Thursday, January 19, 2012

Will Chicago finally get a new supertall skyscraper?

Yesterday, grand plans were unveiled for redeveloping Chicago’s old Main Post Office (433 West Van Buren Street), and the surrounding area.  They include the construction of five residential, hotel, and office skyscrapers perched atop a massive parking, retail, and transit podium spanning the Chicago River.
The highest profile portion of the project is a 120-story tower to be built just west of the river at 350 West Harrison Street.  The skyscraper was envisioned by the architecture firm of Booth Hansen as a single building which splits into two equal halves two-thirds of the way up.  Each remaining shaft is lens-shaped, with indented shafts on the ends, much like the single tower that makes of the nearby Hyatt Center (71 South Wacker Drive).

This massive tower is mimicked by two smaller residential towers at 800 South Wells Street.  A hotel tower at 536 South Canal Street is similar, but only consists of a single shaft.
All of these buildings are connected by a multi-story slab of parking, retail, and commercial space covering close to six city blocks.  It’s a huge amount of space to fill.  By the numbers:
  • 6,200,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space
  • 4,100,000 square feet of hotel space
  • 3,800,000 square feet of residential space
  • 2,000,000 square feet of office space
The developer, International Property Developers, sees it as a new gateway to Chicago, and wants to start construction by next year.  The project would be tackled in three phases, ending in 2022.
It’s a grand dream that has been received with some amount of skepticism.  This is the fourth time in the last decade or so that a tower of over 100 stories has been proposed for Chicago, and none of them have been built.

The Hyatt Center, Chicago, by orijinal

The Hyatt Center, Chicago, by 24gotham

The Hyatt Center, Chicago, by 24gotham

The Hyatt Center, Chicago, by Vincent Desjardins

more about Chicago:

PhD in Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Sustaining a Sense of Place in a Great Neighborhood

“Greening Up” Urban Communities and Displacing the Poor

The Maddening Wrongness of TTI’s Annual Urban Mobility Rankings

Chicago Takes a Census Shellacking

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