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Projected Height for Two-Tower Chicago Spire Reduced

Plans for a two-tower building at the former Chicago Spire site have had a significant height reduction.

The long-anticipated building set to fill the hole left by the failed 2,000-foot-tall spire project has been chopped down from 1,100 to 875 feet.

The proposal for 400 N. Lake Shore Drive revealed by Related Midwest and shunned by Alderman Brendan Reilly is continually becoming less of a big deal for Chicago.

Reilly announced the change in an email to constituents, with a newsletter confirming the reports. The building will now no longer have a hotel, and the height of the podium bridging the two towers has been decreased.

It comes at a time when Chicago is welcoming a range of new developments – including hotels.

Since Related Midwest’s controversial proposal for the site in 2018, the company has been attempting to move forward with the build by addressing concerns over the planned hotel, traffic for EastNorth Water Street, and security on the Riverwalk and at DuSable Park.

Five months after the design’s launch, Reilly said the company was stalled and plans would not progress until concerns were addressed.

Now, the company has resubmitted its plans. They propose two residential buildings at 875’ and 765’ in height containing over 1000 residential units and commercial and amenity space on the ground floor.

The previous design included 300 condo units, 550 rental apartments, and 175 hotel rooms. Based on a single image included in Reilly’s email, the new proposal appears to otherwise resemble the previous design created by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architect David Childs.

The Alderman presented a list of the issues which he said should be addressed, which included removing the hotel rooms, reducing the podium’s height and bulk, creating a security plan, restricting access along East North Water Street, and eliminating the proposed Ogden Slip Public Esplanade.

Reilly also said delivery and service vehicles should be managed through a Lake Shore Drive access ramp.

It isn’t the first time he has presented a list of concerns to tower developments. Reilly blocked plans for a trio of skyscrapers at Lakeshore East in 2017. The plans were eventually approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in 2018 after concerns were addressed, including a request to remove the hotel component of the buildings.

Related Midwest picked up the spire project from developer Garrett Kelleher, who had planned to build it but was shut down when the 2008 global financial crash hit. The Irish-born developer, who had spent years working on the project, had left little more than a hole in the ground in the end.

Related promised to fill the gap with an “architecturally significant and thoughtful development” in 2014, which first seemed as if it would be the super tower the city was waiting for.

The company had originally hoped to break ground on the towers in 2019 and deliver by 2023.

At the time of its first pushback, a Related spokesperson said, “Related Midwest deeply values the feedback from Alderman Reilly and the Streeterville community regarding our proposal for 400 Lake Shore Drive.”

“We will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to refine our plan and move forward with a design that realizes the potential of this site—and adjacent areas like DuSable Park—in a way that maximizes benefits for neighbors, residents, and the greater Chicago community.”

Though the plans are less exciting than they were back in 2018, it is thought the towers will still soar as high-income renters drive Chicago’s apartment boom.

Further details regarding the new proposal will be revealed at a public meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel, Chicago, on March 10 at 6 pm.

Cool Things Chicago