Multifamily N Illinois

Fresh look at new supertall project next to Tribune Tower

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New light has been shed on what would be Chicago’s second-tallest building. Chicago developer Golub & Company and Los Angeles-based CIM Group revealed the details at a public meeting last night for their vision for the lot adjacent to the historic Tribune Tower.

The 2-million-square-foot, 1,422-foot-tall, mixed-use tower would rise on the vacant parcel at the corner of Illinois Street and Cityfront Plaza Drive. The property is just east of the gothic Tribune Tower now undergoing its own repositioning from office to condo use. The developers acquired the entire site from Tribune Media for $240 million in 2016.

Representing the development team were Lee Golub, principal, Golub; Gordon Gill, design partner, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG); Peter Lemmon, Senior Transportation Engineer, Kimley-Horn and Associates and Steve Hubbard, associate principal, Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB). Kimley-Horn conducted transportation studies, AS+GG designed the new tower and SCB is the architect of record for the redevelopment of both the existing tower and Pioneer Plaza. The Streeterville Organization of Active Residents co-hosted the meeting along with Chicago’s 42nd Ward Alderman, Brendan Reilly, who was also on hand to hear and respond to community feedback.

The new, tapered tower would contain a 200-key hotel, 439 apartments and 125 condo units. The base would contain a 430-vehicle garage and 10,700 square feet of retail. This is in addition to the 162 luxury residences now going into the redubbed Tribune Tower Residences.

New details include the addition of a site-specific traffic route to ease neighborhood concerns of congestion on Illinois Street. Additionally, the lobbies for the hotel, rental and condo owners have all been moved below ground, where they will accessible via Lower Illinois, North Water and St. Clair Streets. The design team took great care to make the subterranean entrances as inviting as possible.

“We’re not interested in any way, shape or form in creating cavernous, dark spaces,” said Gill. “We love these types of opportunities to bring daylight into the space, to treat these bases as architectural projects that create a beautiful environment.”

The original tower will get a new motor court for pickups and drop-offs that features high-end finishes and plenty of light. The sidewalks along Lower Michigan Avenue and Lower Illinois Street will also be improved with new lighting, refreshed facades and the elimination of ventilation hoods, stairs and other impediments that not only impede walkability but create security concerns.

The development team also revealed the new look for Pioneer Court, the hardscape plaza that connects Tribune Tower, the new building and 401. N. Michigan to Cityfront Plaza and Michigan Avenue. The improvements include new raised beds for mature trees and bermed lawns, as well as improved lighting.

“In our new vision for Pioneer Court, we seek to unify these areas and dramatically increase the amount of green landscape area and unify it,” said Hubbard, “not only north and south with the continuation of this paving, but perhaps more importantly make a connection from west to east with what we’re calling Pioneer Path.”

Pioneer Plaza was created in the mid-1960s to honor 25 Chicago pioneers, including Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, Jane Addams, Daniel Burnham and others. The redeveloped plaza will highlight those figures, with their names inscribed into the “Pioneer Path” that runs through the site. Historical markers will further educate visitors about the Chicago luminaries.

Golub and CIM are in negotiations with several hospitality groups to operate the hotel, as well as contracting firms to construct the new tower. Should the project receive approval from the city, the project could break ground early next year.