Wolf Point plan could include 80-story building, alderman says

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Wolf Point on the Chicago River, photographed Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, in Chicago | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

The developers of downtown’s Wolf Point property along the Chicago River have proposed three towers, one of which could be 900 feet tall, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said Tuesday.

Reilly, whose ward covers most of downtown, said the other proposed towers would be 750 feet and 525 feet. Depending on the design, the height could be equivalent to about 80, 60 and 50 stories.

The Kennedy family owns the four-acre site west of the Merchandise Mart and wants to develop it with Hines Interests LP. Reilly released some details in an email to constituents.

His support is critical for any zoning change the development requires.

Reilly used the email to invite residents to a community meeting on the project May 29. It’s scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Wolf Point Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Mart Center, 350 N. Orleans.

The ballroom, a popular wedding venue, could have its views obscured by the project. Others may find fault with it as well.

Some residents already have complained to Reilly about traffic congestion, and residents of the posh River Bend condominium building could lose views up the river for which they paid a premium.

Reilly did not indicate his opinion of the project in the email and could be not reached for comment. The developers also could not be reached.

The Kennedys have hired well-known architect Cesar Pelli to design the buildings. It’s believed that the first structure they want to build is the shortest one, most likely an apartment tower.

Reilly identified the taller buildings as mixed use structures. All would have their own parking. At 900 feet, the tallest one would rank eighth highest in Chicago.

The alderman said he has “directed” the developers to begin community reviews early, before they submit a zoning application to the city.

Any development would take years and could go through many modifications. The Kennedys have owned Wolf Point for decades and have tried to develop it before, but have never timed the market right.

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