Meeting Reveals Details on New Developments in Chicago’s Lakeshore East

Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Chicago, United States

Even as it builds what will become the city's third-tallest skyscraper, a Chicago real estate developer is pushing ahead on a new wave of towers in its 28-acre (11.3-hectare) Lakeshore East project near the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. On July 10, Magellan Development Group unveiled plans to construct four new buildings with 2,040 apartments and condominiums and 569 hotel rooms.

The proposed next phase of construction is ambitious enough to turn heads on its own, with the bKL Architecture-designed structures reaching as high as approximately 80 stories. The plans are more remarkable considering Magellan and Chinese partner Wanda Group are already building the 98-story Vista condominium and hotel tower, which will be the city's third-tallest building when completed in 2020, on a nearby parcel in Lakeshore East.

Now Magellan and different development partners, Australia's Lendlease and South Korea's Hanwha Engineering & Construction, are seeking city approval to move forward on a new wave of buildings that would include two skyscrapers along Lake Shore Drive near the lake. The developers' plans were discussed in a meeting July 10 by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and the New Eastside Association of Residents.

Magellan and Lendlease plan towers of about 80 and 50 stories along Lake Shore just south of the river, and an approximately 40-story tower just to the west of the larger towers, the developers said at the meeting. The three towers would have 1,400 condos and apartments combined. The tallest building would rise about 875 feet (267 meters).

West of there, along Columbus Drive near Aqua Tower, Magellan and Hanwha seek to build an approximately 60-story tower with 643 apartments and 569 hotel rooms – a full-service hotel with 247 rooms and another brand with 322 "micro" rooms – atop a retail and parking podium. Magellan and Hanwha have been partners on three previous buildings in the complex.

Many questions at the July 10 meeting centered around traffic and concerns that views from existing towers will be blocked, particularly by the 80-story tower. Reilly emphasized that Magellan's revised plan along Lake Shore Drive, from four towers in a previous version to three taller structures now, would create more open space for parks and fewer obstructed views than in the previous plan. The revised plan proposes 1,000 fewer residences in the three towers near the lake than the previous iteration, but the three buildings would be taller than those in the previous design. The change to fewer but taller towers requires city approval. The new development phase, which could begin as soon as early 2018, would create new access points to the lakefront and the Riverwalk.

Magellan has already completed eight high-rise buildings in the 15-year-old development, as well as a 6-acre (2.4-hectare) park and shorter structures with uses such as town homes, a school, and retail. The entire development is expected to cost more than $4 billion and take well over two decades to complete. An estimated cost of the new four-tower phase was not disclosed at the meeting.

If this four-tower phase happens as planned, there would be just two land sites remaining in Lakeshore East, which runs along stretches of Lake Shore, Wacker, and Columbus Drives and Randolph Street, east of Michigan Avenue. Reilly said he wants the developer to set aside a site for a potential public school in the future, as the neighborhood's population increases.

For more on this story, go to the Chicago Tribune.

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