The grand spire atop Holy Name Cathedral could soon be eclipsed by two high-rise towers — one nearly as tall as the Hancock Building — planned for the open lot where the faithful often park their cars.
JDL Development filed plans with the city Wednesday calling for two towers — one 75 stories, the other 45 — directly across from the Cathedral’s stately doors and stained-glass rose window. The developer needs a zoning change to erect the towers, the taller of which tops out at 1,011 feet.
The Hancock Building — sans antennas — rises to 1,128.
The towers would rise from a nine-story structure that would house a mixture of residential and commercial space, including a state-of the-art fitness club and a grocery store.
Some of the development’s 659 parking spots — none of which would be visible from the street — would be reserved for use by Holy Name parishioners, JDL’s president and founder, James D. Letchinger, said Wednesday.
Plans call for the shorter of the two towers to house between 400 and 500 rental units. The taller one would house between 300 and 400 units, most of which would be rental, with large condos occupying the upper floors.
Letchinger described the high rises as slim and airy, saying, “They allow a lot more light and view to exist because they don’t take up as much horizontal space.”
The development would take up an entire city block owned mostly by the Archdiocese of Chicago, which reached an agreement in April 2016 to sell the lot to JDL, archdiocese spokeswoman Anne Maselli said. The sale has not yet closed.
According to Maselli, the plan will actually increase parish parking while adding green space “and many amenities that will improve the vibrancy of the neighborhood.”
“In selling the property it was important for the Archdiocese to find an experienced developer who we knew would produce a high-quality space for the neighborhood,” she said.
Letchinger would not comment on a Crain’s Chicago Business report that JDL was negotiating to buy the church’s land for $110 million, and the archdiocese would not disclose the sale price.
He said the company hopes to break ground next fall on the project, which will carry a price tag of about $700 million.
A public meeting hosted by Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) and the River North Residents Association, during which JDL will present their plans, will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 24 at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, 25 E. Peason, in Kasbeer Hall on the 15th floor.
“There will be those who disagree, but we’re very confident we’ve designed a fantastic building,” said Letchinger, who grew up on the Gold Coast and lives downtown.
“We always listen. If things need to be modified and it makes sense, we’ll see what we can do. Nothing is set in stone until everyone weighs in. No matter what we do, we know that there will be some who can’t stand the project and would rather see it be an empty parking lot,” he said.
“But we’re excited to present the project,” he said. “The city is very much in support of this.”