$1.1B plan for 3 new Lakeshore East towers gets Plan Commission OK

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The Lakeshore East skyscrapers approved Wednesday.

A $1.1 billion plan to add several new Lakeshore East towers was approved Thursday by the Chicago Plan Commission.

The project was part of a jam-packed agenda for the commission. It also signed off on construction around and atop Union Station, a 455-foot tall office tower atop a firehouse in River North, a 50-story hotel and residential building also in Lakeshore East and a potentially huge, Amazon-ready development along the North Branch of the Chicago River.

The three approved towers would stand in the northeast corner of Lakeshore East, a relatively new neighborhood rising south of the Chicago River where it meets Lake Michigan.

Once a freight terminal for Illinois Central railroad and then a golf course, the site has filled with skyscrapers over the last two decades. Alongside the 50-story building approved separately along the western side of Lakeshore East, the three buildings approved Thursday would some of the last sites in the project.

A rendering of the 80-story tower slated to rise south of the mouth of the Chicago river.

A rendering of the 80-story tower slated to rise south of the mouth of the Chicago river.

The three new buildings would be 40, 50, and 80 stories tall, with the 80-story building set on the northeast corner of the site and towering over the confluence of Lake Michigan and the Chicago river. Plans call for a small public park along the southern edge of the site.

The proposal was put forward by Lendlease Development and Magellan Development Group, which is responsible for the development of Lakeshore East. The three buildings were designed by Chicago-based bKL Architecture.

According to the developers, the project will create 3,000 construction jobs.

Initial plans for the site were blocked by Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) in 2017. Reilly approved the current plan after changes, including to the design of the park, the positioning of one of the buildings, and the installation of a manned security post at the east end of the park, were unveiled in August.

View this document on ScribdPlans for developments on Amtrak’s property around Union Station also changed during negotiations with Reilly. Initial plans would have placed a glass ring of apartments atop the historic train station. The plan approved by the Commission Thursday retains plans for a hotel in the top floors of the station’s “Head House,” alongside a 50-story office building on Amtrak-owned land to the south of the site.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct information about the flow of the Chicago River.

A rendering of the new office tower, and the additional floor on the Head House accommodating more hotel rooms, planned for Union Station.

A rendering of the new office tower, and the additional floor on the Head House accommodating more hotel rooms, planned for Union Station.


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