Revised Lakeshore East Plan is More Green and More of the Same

The proposal to erect three new skyscrapers in the northeast corner of Lakeshore East took another step forward tonight.

At the second public meeting about the project from Magellan Development and Lendlease, a revised plan received acknowledging nods, and not much else.  But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Rendering of Towers J and I (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

July 2017 rendering of Towers J and I (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

When the first iteration was voilàed last July, few credible people had anything bad to say about bKL Architecture’s design for the original plan, which included 80-, 50-, and 40-story towers.

The revision tonight is much of the same thing, with just a few changes; but perhaps enough to earn the endorsement of 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly.

He bounced the previous plan back to the developers in December of 2017 because of a short list of neighborhood concerns, such has a lack of contiguous green space and security.

The new plan spaces the towers apart a little more to improve the whole light/shadows/views/claustrophobia Rubik’s Cube that architects have to deal with when designing taller than a Walgreen’s downtown.  The link between the upper level street grid and Lake Michigan has also been improved with a larger, more park-like space.

The biggest change comes in the biggest tower.  The plan for 300 hotel rooms has been jettisoned, and the building will be a flat 600 residences.  But before you rush off to call U-Haul, the Hawaiian goddess of cardboard boxes, know that this tallest of the three towers isn’t going to be built until last.  The two Shoreham-statured buildings will go up first.

In all, it’s a minor change to a major plan that didn’t need all that much work.  As someone who suffered through the caisson drilling of too many Lakeshore East buildings, it’ll be nice to have this patch of downtown completed so the community can finally live up to its full potential.

from Chicago Architecture


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