Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH Staff Experience Riverfront Lifestyle at Chicago’s Wolf Point Tower
December 8, 2017
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CHICAGO – As a treat for a long year of hard work, CTBUH staff members took a top-to-bottom tour of Wolf Point West, a luxury apartment tower that sits on the Chicago River, where its three branches converge. The tour was led by Carl Moskus, Director; Michael Karlovitz, Director; Rachel Domoff, Marketing Coordinator, bKL Architecture and Jillian DiCola, Property Manager at Wolf Point West, who were each able to offer unique insight into the development’s construction, design, and amenities.

After gathering in the lobby for a brief introduction, participants were taken to the top of the building so they could explore the mechanical floor. One level higher was the roof, where CTBUH staff took advantage of the 46-story view to pose for a windy group photo.

CTBUH staff gazing at the city from the mechanical floor.

Following the rooftop run, Moskus and company escorted everyone down to the amenities floor, which is located near the top of the building, rather than the more typical lower levels. Among the many amenities were a workout facility, indoor golf simulator, luxurious common area, and ample deck space. Another floor held roomy co-working spaces, complete with private conference rooms.

The view from the roof of Wolf Point West.
CTBUH staff posing for a 46-story-high group photo.

CTBUH staff were also shown two of the tower’s apartment units; a one-bedroom and a convertible. Although everyone was impressed by the upscale design flourishes and premier appliances, of particular note was how the units maximized their tight layouts, carving a spacious atmosphere from a limited floor plate.

The final stop on the tour was the common area located on the ground floor, which was designed to make use of the building’s riverfront site. With massive windows and a wide seating area, the space brought the riverfront into the room itself. It was here that the tour leaders made time for questions.

      Staff getting a feel for the common area.

Dan Safarik, Editor, CTBUH, asked Karlovitz about the issues his team had to contend with in order to anchor the building.

“The biggest challenge for me as part of the design group was dealing with a narrow site and trying to do something that still allows for the riverwalk to be a pleasant experience,” he said. “That’s why the building sets back at the lower levels, so you still get a lot of air and light to the river walk experience.”

Antony Wood, Executive Director, CTBUH, noted how small the site, owned by the Kennedy family, actually was, especially considering another two buildings are being planned for it. “When the Kennedys first announced they were going to develop three buildings on this site, there was a sharp intake of breath,” Wood said. “This site doesn’t seem big enough for three tall buildings.”

Staff taking in the river view.                                                            Wolf Point West.

DiCola fielded this question, indicating that, objections to the height or bulk of the buildings have been countered by positive feedback about general improvements to the neighborhood.

“One thing that I’ve noticed as things are being developed , even for this area, is that other buildings will start doing improvements on their façade, and flowers start being planted, and the neighborhood starts changing a little bit, because things that were falling apart are now being paid a little bit more attention to,” DiCola said.

Antony Wood, Executive Director, CTBUH, presenting Carl Moskus a gift as a thank you for leading the tour.

She added that although there had been some pushback from residents of Riverbend Condominiums – which rises to the west of Wolf Point across the river– anticipating their views being obstructed, she has also spoken with other residents who are happy Wolf Point has gone up, as it has helped revitalize the neighborhood and beautified the river walk.

Moskus chuckled at this. “I worked on that building in 1998, and when that went through the planning process, everyone west of them was complaining that their views were going to be blocked … That’s life in a big city.”

CTBUH would like to extend thanks to bKL Architecture and Wolf Point West’s management for the access and insights provided on the tour.