The developer that wanted to build three new skyscrapers, one 80 stories tall, off the downtown lakefront has been told no by the neighborhood alderman.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) told constituents in an email Wednesday morning that he was rejecting the proposed high-rise project by Chicago-based Magellan Development and Australian construction giant Lendlease after receiving “hundreds of letters, emails, and calls” from neighbors opposed to the plan.
Magellan Development did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The developers pitched neighbors last summer on the three towers, which would have mostly filled in the last unbuilt sites in Lakeshore East, the high-rise neighborhood bounded by Columbus and Wacker drives, Randolph Street and Lake Shore Drive.
If built, the three towers between Harbor and Lake Shore drives would have added 875 condominiums, 525 apartments and a 300-room hotel surrounded by a new park connecting the downtown Riverwalk to the lakefront.
But Reilly said Wednesday that concerns over the project’s impact on traffic, security and lack of open space that serves “as a real public benefit” to the neighborhood gave him pause.
“There are a number of issues that must be resolved by a future proposal for this development site,” Reilly wrote.
The tallest tower would have risen 80 stories and included 475 condominiums as well as a 300-room hotel, the developers told neighbors in July.
Another 50-story tower on the site would have contained 400 condos, and a new 40-story tower would have included 525 apartments for rent, they said.
The towers were the biggest project proposed by Magellan since it broke ground last year on Vista, a 94-story skyscraper projected to be Chicago’s third-tallest tower by the time it opens in 2020 near Wacker and Columbus drives.
The proposal drew hundreds of Lakeshore East neighbors to a July meeting, concerned that the new buildings would affect their views, property values and neighborhood traffic.
Some in the crowd who had bought into Magellan buildings years ago felt betrayed by the developer’s plans, while others were worried the flashy new buildings might attract more crime to the area.
The developers held subsequent meetings with individual condominium associations in the area to sell the plan, but Reilly said those meetings only yielded more concerns he considered when rejecting the proposal.
Reilly wrote Wednesday that instead of a ramp, he would prefer the developers use a “more subtle, meandering path” connecting the new towers to the Riverwalk.
He also proposed new fencing, security patrols and surveillance cameras along Lower Lake Shore Drive, as well as “solutions ensuring there are no” traffic conflicts brought by the towers to the area.
Magellan’s proposal this summer also included a dual hotel tower at 195 N. Columbus Drive, next to Aqua tower. One hotel would be full service while another would include smaller “micro” hotel rooms and fewer amenities. The 54-story tower would include 643 hotels and connect to the downtown pedway, the developers said then.
Reilly did not immediately return a message asking for the status of the proposed hotel project on Columbus Drive.