Related Midwest’s double-tower Chicago Spire replacement scores city council approval

A Hole No More

Related Midwest’s double-tower Chicago Spire replacement scores city council approval

Related Midwest’s long-awaited lakefront luxury rental towers have cleared a major hurdle. (Courtesy Related Companies)

After undergoing substantial tweaks, the plan to erect a pair of truncated residential skyscrapers designed by SOM’s David Childs at 400 North Lake Shore Drive—currently home to a remarkably large hole in the ground—in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood has been blessed with full approval by the Chicago City Council. The $1 billion redevelopment scheme, has been in the works since Related Midwest acquired the long-empty parcel in 2018, will sit on the site of Santiago Calatrava’s 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire condo tower (before that project was abandoned during the 2008 economic crisis).

The initial redevelopment plans have been dramatically scaled back following public outcry from area residents and business owners. Among other things, the twin towers—now less lanky than initially envisioned after being chopped from 1,100 feet and 850 feet to 875 feet and 765 feet respectively—are now luxury rental-only affairs after plans to incorporate condos and a 175-room hotel into the project were ultimately nixed as reported by CBS Chicago. Plans to perch the towers atop a view-blocking, parking garage-dominated four-story podium were also scrapped and replaced with plans for modest ground-level retail space and a subterranean car park. Related Midwest has agreed to foot the bill for various traffic flow-related infrastructural changes around the site to negate any potential gridlock nightmares and improve pedestrian access.

“Although this was a long and difficult negotiation, I believe it has resulted in a far superior project to the one that was initially proposed,” 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly, who had been instrumental in forcing Related Midwest to revisit and tweak the proposed towers based on community feedback, told CBS Chicago.

Related Midwest describes the sleek glass and stone towers, complete with terra-cotta accents and “Chicago windows,” as being “reminiscent of a waterfall.”

“… the cascading silhouette of each tower will form expansive outdoor terraces that extend individual residences beyond their walls,” elaborated the developer. “Placed at carefully proportioned intervals, these outdoor living areas will present a rare opportunity to enjoy sweeping, 180-degree views of the adjacent lakefront, river and cityscape.”

Per ReJournals, Related Midwest, in addition to making various design concessions, will put $10 million in funding toward the completion of the DuSable Park, a new 3.3 green space located at an old industrial site across North Lake Shore Drive from the development site and just south of Chicago’s famed Navy Pier.