Home / Business / Developers are planning the city's second-highest skyscraper alongside new Tribune Tower condos

Developers are planning the city's second-highest skyscraper alongside new Tribune Tower condos

Developers on Monday unveiled plans for Chicago's second-highest skyscraper, a tapered metal and glass shaft that would rise above the historic Tribune Tower, resembling the top of Batman's black mask and only 29 feet shorter than Willis Tower.

When completed, the $ 1 billion project to redevelop the Tribune Tower and build a meager 1,422-foot skyscraper to the northeast would bring more than 700 residences and 200 hotel rooms to an area north of the Chicago River.

Developers, Chicago-based Golub & Co. and the CIM Group in Los Angeles, will seek a rezoning to build the skyscraper that would supplant the Trump International Hotel & Tower as the city's second tallest building. The designs were revealed on Monday evening at a church meeting.

In June, the Chicago Tribune will move from its neo-Gothic Michigan Avenue complex, which was home for almost a century, to the One Prudential Plaza. CIM Group and Golub acquired the Tribune property from Tribune Media, a separate broadcasting corporation, for $ 240 million in 201


In the first phase, their plans envisage 163 condominiums in the Tribune Tower that would retain their usual name. The first units should be purchased in early 2020.

The plans for the new tower, which could begin construction by the end of 2019, require a hotel with 200 rooms, 439 rental apartments, and 125 condominiums in the upper reaches. The skyscraper would rise from a grandstand parking lot behind the Tribune Tower.

In contrast to the filigree crown of the longhills and battlements of the historic skyscraper, the top of the new building would consist of curved glass walls that extend beyond the building's floors. It would resemble the tip of Batman's mask – an unintentional resemblance recognizing Golub's Executive Vice President Lee Golub in an interview before the meeting on Monday. Asked why he did not push for another 30 feet in height, which had made the suggestion Chicago's tallest skyscraper, Golub answered that height was a secondary priority to the ideal mix of units and storey heights.

"It's just what it is," Golub said.

"Why did not we do it?" He added, with the prospect of being the largest in the city. "We do not have such a big ego."

As the saga of the undeveloped Chicago Spire shows, it's easier to announce plans for a Supertall skyscraper than to finance one and build one that has already complicated other developers for Golub and CIM Group. There are mega-towers underway or approved, most notably the 1,191-foot Vista Tower, a hotel and condominium highrise under construction across the Chicago River from the Tribune compound.

The bigger question, almost a decade into the city. Recession property boom, is whether the expansion will have more than a year of steam when the new tower is to start construction. Undeterred by the risks, Golub cited the unique location of the project and expressed the hope that it would entice international buyers [19659002] "We are on Michigan Avenue .We are on the river .We are here in the center of everything." , he said.

Condominiums in both buildings would be sold at prices at or near the top of the Chicago market – more than $ 1,000 per square foot, Golub predicted. With condominiums in the new building and the Tribune Tower, averaging 3,000 square feet and 2,700 square feet, respectively, that means that many condos would cost more than $ 3 million.

In January, when the Tribune announced plans for a Supertall skyscraper next to Tribune Tower were in the works, Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42, showed a general openness to the size of the project, but reserved the right to press for design changes and reduce the number of parking spaces. At the time, plans demanded that the new skyscraper rise to 1,388 feet, one foot shorter than Trump Tower. Since then plans have increased, though developers have not insisted on climbing the tower built by the current president.

About 400 people attended Monday night's gathering at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. In his opening speech, Reilly emphasized that the developers' proposal was "ambitious" and could change.

"This marks the beginning of our public process," he said.

The Tribune Tower is expected to cost more The new tower plans were designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture, whose portfolio includes a tower under construction in Saudi Arabia, which, when completed, will be housed in the Dubais Burj Khalifa is cast as the tallest building in the world.

The designers of the Tribune Tower conversion are the Chicago firm of SCB, or Solomon Cordwell Buenz, which specializes in new condominium skyscrapers. Chicago-based Vinci Hamp Architects are the conservation consultants.

As part of the remodeling, most of the tower's Indiana limestone facades and three adjacent low-rise buildings – the WGN Radio and WGN Television buildings, as well as the original Tribune – were built to preserve the print shop. But the central part of the old print shop, whose huge storeys house the Tribune Newsroom and other offices, would be demolished and made way for a raised courtyard that would channel natural light into the project's lower condominiums.

The courtyard, equipped with an indoor pool, would be built behind the iconic Chicago Tribune sign. The sign became the subject of a dispute between the developers – who argue that they have a contractual agreement to buy the $ 1 sign – and Tronc, the owner of the newspaper claiming the sign, is protected by intellectual property.

The still A new tower would rise from the northeast corner of the Tribune grounds and ensure that it does not interfere with the Ogden Slip Visibility Corridor, which ensures that the Tribune Tower remains visible from Lake Shore Drive. The top of its 96 floors would house Chicago's tallest residential units and surpass those of the nearby Trump skyscraper.

The tapered profile of the new tower is designed to reduce wind pressure and disturb the residents.

Strong vertical lines are reminiscent of those in the Tribune Tower, which was the victorious contribution to an international competition to design the "most beautiful and characteristic office building in the world". The building was inaugurated in 1925 under the direction of Tribune publisher Colonel Robert R. McCormick

Other highlights of the new plans include the following:

• The lower floors of the existing Tribune Tower complex would be 47,500 square feet of retail space on Michigan Avenue, Upper Illinois Street and the Pioneer Court Pedestrian Street, north of the new Apple Flagship Store. The northern part of the square should be repaved and contain a timeline with the history of the site.

• On the WGN Television Building, a four-storey condominium was to be built, whose metal and glass façade should complement the existing structure. McCormick's office on the 24th floor, a baronium with its own log fire, wood-paneled walls, and custom-designed ceiling, was to be turned into a condominium. Developers talk to nonprofit organizations about possibly taking over parts of the office that would be dismantled.

• The Nathan Hale Courtyard, an outdoor space along Michigan Avenue that contains a statue of the Patriot of the Revolutionary War, has been retained but reconfigured to make it accessible to new ramps. The courtyard would open up into new retail space and replace a lobby that has no listed protection.

• It is still unclear how much access tourists and architecture lovers will have to the ornate Lobby Tribune Tower, which is officially listed. Golub said a compromise had to be found when the lobby was open to visitors.

• The 25th-floor open-air area under the north face of the Tribune Towers, once a publicly accessible observatory and now a The private venue "The Crown" is becoming an open-air area for residents.

• The location of some of the approximately 150 fragments of famous buildings and historic sites from around the world, housed in the base of the Tribune Tower, has been moved to accommodate the new retail space on the ground floor.

• The new tower would house a five-star hotel and a sales area of ​​10,700 square meters. Its base, which would be wider than the skinny tower, would have 430 parking spaces crowned by an outside deck.

Under existing zoning, Tribune Square allows 1.6 million square feet of space. The two towers, old and new, would cover 2 million square feet. To increase the density, the developers would invest about $ 14 million in a city fund to promote commercial development in the ailing areas of the South and West, as well as $ 12 million in the city's affordable housing fund.

Architects rejected the idea of ​​repeating the setbacks and neo-Gothic architecture of Tribune Tower. "We tried, we did not like it, it was a big version of Tribune Tower, it did not seem appropriate," he said.

At the meeting, some residents said they were in favor of the design, while others complained that the new tower would block the view from their homes, predicting that much of the retail space would remain empty. Quoting the empty storefronts in the Trump Tower and other locations on Michigan Avenue, the resident said, "I'd hate to see a lot of available and leased signs."

Blair Kamin is grandstand critic.

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Twitter @BlairKamin

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