Construction Updates

Construction Updates

It’s pretty obvious we have a deep fascination with Chicago’s architecture. If you didn’t know that about us then take a ride on our 75-minute Architecture River Tour or our 40-minute Classic Lake Tour and you’ll soon realize we love everything Chicago and everything about the architecture around the Windy City. So it’s no surprise we’ve been trying to keep up to date with all the news on the buildings around the Chicago River. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve learned over the past couple weeks.

Wolf Point

With some of the best views of the Chicago River, Wolf Point West was completed in 2016 but it’s just one part of a multi-phase project. In late January new renderings were released on the Wolf Point project, the entire project consists of three waterfront skyscrapers, a landscaped public riverwalk, and a fully-concealed underground parking complex and is the work of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

Currently crews are working on the 60-story Wolf Point East apartment tower which is expected to be over 660 feet high and include 698 high-end rental units. The project is expected to open in late 2019 and will only leave Wolf Point South as the remaining tower under construction.

The newest rendering offered insight into the final phase of development, which is Wolf Point South. It will rise between Wolf Point East and West and is expected to be an office building but could include a hotel and a residential component.

Before construction begins on Wolf Point South it will need to go before the City of Chicago for final approvals and the completed design won’t be known until then. Pelli does estimate the final height of Wolf Point South will be at 950 feet, which puts it right under the “supertall” qualifying threshold.

Tribune Tower

One of Chicago’s most iconic Gothic Revival style building is getting an interior facelift. The Tribune Tower, which is under new ownership, will be converted into a 165 condo unit building in the near future. In 2016 the building was purchased by LA-based CIM Group and local partner Golub & Co. for $240 million. Little has been released about the new owners’ plans for the building besides their intention to convert the space to “mixed-used.” Interior demolition began in October and the new residential units and a new lower level retail space is expected to take up to three years of construction.

Along with the renovations on the Tribune Tower, the new owners also have plans for a glass and steel skyscraper east of the building. Currently a parking lot, the plans call for a 1,388 feet supertall that would include 220 hotel rooms, 158 condo units, and hundreds of parking spaces. Work on the newest supertall won’t take place until after construction on the Tribune Tower is completed.

Architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz is overseeing work on the Tribune Tower while Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture will handle the designs of the new structure.

Vista Tower

It is no secret we’re big fans of Jeanne Gang over at Studio Gang – Aqua could be one of our favorite buildings along the Chicago River – so we’re equally excited to see the continued progress of Vista Tower. However, there are rumors that the co-developers Dalian Wanda Group are looking to sell their 60% ownership stake in the new skyscraper.

Construction on Vista began in late 2016 and is more than a fourth of the way to its final height so will the new sell have a big effect on construction? Most likely no. The project already has a $700 million construction loan and a large amount of condo pre-sales which means a change in ownership shouldn’t affect the progress.

The biggest question will be what will happen to the 210-room Wanda-brand luxury hotel planned for the lower half of the building. We’ll be anxiously awaiting any new developments on this supertall.