Speaking to a crowd of several hundred people Monday evening, architects and developers detailed their plans to redevelop the Tribune Tower and the surrounding area in River North and Streeterville — including the construction of what would be the second-tallest building in Chicago.
Plans for the still-unnamed new skyscraper include 125 condominium units, 439 rental units, 200 rooms in a “five-star boutique hotel” and 10,700 square feet of retail space, according to the developers. The project would break ground just east of the Tribune Tower in late 2019 or early 2020.
Changes to the Tribune Tower would include 163 condo units — including in the former offices of Chicago Tribune publisher Col. Robert McCormick — and 47,500 square feet of retail space, the developers said while presenting plans at a community meeting Monday.
Those involved in the development and construction touched on the preservation — and possible expansion — of historical aspects of the tower, as well as population density in the already bustling neighborhood, traffic concerns and the hiring of women and minority contractors for the project.
“As you can imagine, the discourse and dialogue surrounding this project has been pretty intense,” architect Gordon Gill said as the crowd lightly chuckled, seeing the project renderings for the first time.
Aside from the construction of the skyscraper, development would impact the Tribune Tower, the adjoining WGN Radio studios and the former WGN television buildings, according to the developers.
Golub & Company and CIM Group bought the property for $240 million more than 18 months ago. As part of the proposal, a $14 million payment would be made to the city’s neighborhood opportunity fund, which would go toward projects in blighted parts of the city.
The Chicago Tribune is slated to move out of its namesake tower in the next two months. The newspaper believes it has the right to bring its Michigan Avenue-facing sign with it when it moves to Prudential Plaza, while Lee Golub of Golub & Company maintains it was part of the property he bought.
“We think we have the legal rights to the sign,” he said. “We don’t think this is an intellectual property situation.
“We feel it is a piece of the fabric of the Tribune Tower,” he added.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), whose ward encompasses the area, underscored that everything presented was still “a proposal.”
“That’s aspirational. It is indeed a proposal,” Reilly said, adding that the comments delivered by the public would be reviewed by his staff.
One neighborhood resident was concerned that some parts of the redevelopment may clash with the property’s architecturally historic aspects. Golub said the plans were not made “to be the same, because it isn’t.”