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It’s been a lot of years that cyclists, rollerbladers, walkers, people pushing prams, and just anyone who enjoys walking along Chicago’s lakefront have been waiting for the Navy Pier Flyover to be completed.  

While northern sections have been done and open to the public for some time, the key bottleneck in the whole lakefront parade — the Lake Shore Drive Bridge — is still a work in progress.

Loop Spy Joel sent in these photos showing how far CDOT has come with the project.  

Navy Pier Flyover under construction (July 2019, courtesy of Loop Spy Joel)

In the photograph above you can see the steel and concrete ramp that will one day carry wheels and heels over DuSable Park between Jane Addams Park and the bridge.  And in the photograph below, you can see said ramp almost, but not quite, connecting to the bridge where the lakefront path will burrow through the 1930’s bridgehouses which bookend the movable span.

Navy Pier Flyover under construction (July 2019, courtesy of Loop Spy Joel)

This project is a year overdue, so we won’t speculate on when it will be done.  Fingers have pointed at everything from unexpected engineering work to difficulty corralling the right flavors of your tax dollars to pay for the project.  But surely, it will be done eventually.  It’s not like construction projects in Chicago ever get abandoned, leaving a massive hole in the ground next to the Lake Shore Drive Bridge.  Oh, wait.

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Every crane that rises to bring another skyscraper to the city of Chicago must eventually return to earth.  Even at Old Town Park.

Old Town Park under construction (July 2019. Courtesy of Brianbobcat.)

Brianbobcat sent in the photograph above that he snapped from a passing CTA Brown Line train.  It shows a tower crane coming down at the multi-tower development that is replacing Atrium Village in five phases.

The new Old Town-adjacent project, called Old Town Park, will eventually be four residential skyscrapers in the 31- to 39-story range, and a four-story residential building.

It’s being developed by Vancouver’s Onni.

Sadly, even thought this was originally promoted with renderings showing a new CTA Brown/Purple Line station at Division Street, there’s nothing about it in the official plans.

June 2015 Atrium Village redevelopment rendering courtesy of Onni Group

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The construction of Chicago’s latest linear park is chugging right along, with bridgework happening near Addison and Rockwell.  Think of 312 RiverRun as a moist version of The 606, except instead of being built on an old industrial rail bed, it’s being built over the old industrial North Branch of the Chicago River.

Construction of the 312 RiverRun at Addison (July 2019, courtesy of Avondale Spy Joel)

Avondale Spy Joel sent in the photograph above of kayakers paddling past the Leah M and its barge at a point where a bridge is being built near Clark Park.

We first told you about 312 RiverRun in 2014 when Epstein honcho Andrew Metter presented it at an AIA event.  At the time, our Bill Motchan reported:

It will connect a path at a critical point on the North Branch of the Chicago River between Clark Park and California Park. The project is a basic walking and biking path. But it’s neither basic, nor simple to execute because of the steep slopes along the river’s edge.

Rather than obliterate the river’s edge, 312 RiverRun leaves it in tact.  

With the usual method of construction, it would take 30 or 40 years to re-establish this amount of green growth. We wondered what could we do to stay away from the bank? We said, ‘Why don’t we do this: Divorce the path from the water’s edge?’

Andrew Metter, Epstein

At its maximum height, 312 RiverRun will be 18 feet above the river.  It will also swoop under the Addison Street bridge, so there’s no interruption in the route. 

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The northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Place has never been very much.  In fact, its glory days were probably before there was a Chicago, when it was the reedy home to minnows, snails, and the occasional soggy moccasin lost in the mud.

Now it looks like the old brick warehouse-turned-office/retail building that squats on that corner today will make way for a 523-foot tall skyscraper designed three blocks away by bKL Architecture.

March 2019 rendering of 300 North Michigan Avenue

The Chicago Plan Commission approved the commission of this plan in Chicago at a recent meeting, allowing Sterling Bay and Magellan Development to put up a 47-story tower that will feature 280 hotel rooms, and 290 apartments.

This nook of The Loop is a hotel magnet.  There are seven hotels within one block of this parcel; and three of them opened in the last five years.  More may be in store, as developers are thinking about debuting additional hotels on adjacent blocks for the throngs of tourists eager to see Chicago without wearing their feet out.

  • March 2019 diagram of 300 North Michigan Avenue
  • March 2019 diagram of 300 North Michigan Avenue
  • March 2019 diagram of 300 North Michigan Avenue
  • March 2019 diagram of 300 North Michigan Avenue
  • March 2019 diagram of 300 North Michigan Avenue
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If you’ve been keeping an eye on the construction of Wolf Point East, you may have noticed that the tower crane helping put it together jumped a little higher recently. It’s always nice to see progress.

An even more impressive sight is the renderings package that came out of Wolf Point East’s PR people recently.  It shows what the views should be like from the common areas.

Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)

This is the place where I initally wrote a fully dismissive paragraph about views like this not being priced for, nor marketed to, mere mortals.  But then I read the rest of the press release from Luxury Living Chicago Realty, and saw that studios start at a fiver under $2,000 a month, and two-bedroom units start just shy of $4k.

No, that’s not cheap.  But for a brand new building in this location with these amenities and these views, it’s not unreasonable.  It’s certainly a refreshing change from virtually every new building that’s gone up west of the Kennedy Expressway in the last five years where the local real estate industry seems bent on charging New York prices for bog standard, undersized, under-amenitied housing just to cash in on an echo chamber-driven tech bubble before it evaporates.  

Pre-leasing at Wolf Point East starts “late this summer.” Since today is July, that must mean next month. So you can start pre-living there pretty soon.

The Wolf Point East web site logo is not only Chicago-riffic, it’s animated.

Again, Wolf Point East not cheap. You won’t see me moving in, and I used to live in the John Hancock Center.   But there is clearly value for money in this new building. Quoting Ferris Beuler, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

The full press release follows the rest of the drool-worthy pictures.

  • Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)
  • Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)
  • Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)
  • Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)
  • Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)
  • Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)
  • Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)
  • Rendering of Wolf Point East (June 2019. Courtesy of Steelblue)

Amenity Renderings Unveiled at Wolf Point East, an Iconic Apartment Tower Above the Chicago River

Luxury Living Chicago Realty to begin pre-leasing late summer

(Chicago) — Wolf Point East reveals today new amenity renderings, along with the launch of its leasing website — www.WolfPointEast.com.

Located at the intersection of River North, Fulton Market and the Loop above a four-acre riverfront park, Wolf Point East is designed by internationally renowned Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects in partnership with Pappageorge Haymes Partners.

“For the interior and amenity design, we wanted to create an urban serenity paired with elegant comfort and modern style – in a way that celebrates the building’s unique riverfront location and its historic importance to the city of Chicago,” said Shea Soucie, Principal of Soucie Horner, Ltd., the design firm curating the amenity interiors and model units at Wolf Point East. “We worked collaboratively with ownership and the team of talented architects to design a modern yet timeless interior concept to match the thoughtful and inventive exterior.”

Building amenities will include an indoor and outdoor pool with south-facing terrace and sundeck, a full-floor expansive fitness club and exercise studio, private coworking lounge with conference rooms, outdoor dog run and inviting pet amenities, elegant gathering spaces for dining and entertaining and a club area complete with social games and a golf simulator.

“Wolf Point East offers a unique matrix of iconic architecture, unparalleled city views, location and luxury finishes designed for today’s modern renter,” said Aaron Galvin, CEO & Founder of Luxury Living Chicago Realty, the brokerage firm exclusively marketing and leasing the property. “Wolf Point East will raise the bar for urban apartment living in Chicago while exuding warmth and elegance in the thoughtfully designed floor plans and community-enhancing amenities.”

Pre-leasing begins late summer 2019 and first move-ins are anticipated this winter. The 698-unit luxury apartment building offers studio to three-bedroom penthouse floor plans. Studios starting at $1,995 per month, junior one bedrooms starting at $2,395, one bedrooms starting at $2,895 per month and two bedrooms starting at $3,995 per month will be the first residences offered. Three-bedroom and penthouse units will be available in the future. Learn more about the apartments and future updates at www.WolfPointEast.com.

The development team is composed of Hines, Wolf Point Owners LLC and the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust. Wolf Point Owners LLC is a part of Park Holdings Group LLC which is the principal investment entity of the Kennedy Family.

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Another new residential building is coming to the Milwaukee Avenue corridor.  740 North Aberdeen will have its official groundbreaking ceremony in Chicago’s River West neighborhood today.

Rendering of 740 North Aberdeen (Courtesy of Fifield)

The project from Fifield will bring 188 new apartments in an 11-story building to a triangle of land a block south of Chicago Avenue, and a block off of Milwaukee Avenue.

The building was designed down the street by FitzGerald Associates, and Walsh Construction will handle turning blueprints into boudoirs.  Its 12-story height is down one story from when we first told you about plans for this location in 2016.

The building will have an amenity deck on the third floor above the parking garage, and a party room on the top floor.  There is also a small dog run and public park in the acute eastern corner formed by North Aberdeen street and a public alley to the south.

740 is being promoted as a transit-oriented development.  According to city maps, this building will be just 285 feet from the CTA’s Chicago Avenue Blue Line station, and the 66 bus is only a few steps further.  Still, it is going to have 80 parking spaces, intended mostly for the residents.  The two-story parking garage will have a nice mural facing the Kennedy Expressway.

  • Address: 716-742 North Aberdeen
  • Address: 721-739 North Ogden Avenue
  • Developer: Aberdeen Owner LLC
  • For realsies: Fifield Cos.
  • Floors: 12
  • Height: 142 feet
  • Residences: 188
  • Retail space: 2,400 square feet
  • Automobile parking: 80 spaces
  • Garage access: via east-west alley on south side
  • Bicycle parking: 42 spaces
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The first piece of the Lincoln Yards promise is now a reality.  One you can experience in a little over a week.

Fleet Fields is part of the open space commitment Sterling Bay made when the city gave it permission to turn a former steel mill into a $6 billion live-work-stay space on the Chicago River between Lincoln Park and Bucktown.

The location of Fleet Fields (formerly Lincoln Yards South Park) in the Lincoln Yards master plan

Open space was one of the main sticking points in the plan, and in January of this year neighborhood groups joined with aldermen to convince the West Town developer to increase the amount of open space from 25% to 40%.  Fleet Fields is the first part of that space to open.

Altogether, the public green space at Lincoln Yards is expected to be about 21 acres.  Fleet Fields is part of that space, but is intended for sports.  The Fleet Fields web site is already taking e-mail addresses from people who are interested in joining soccer leagues.

The park will be open daily from 8am to 11pm.  But don’t head over to 1397 West Wabansia Avenue just yet.  The grand opening isn’t until Sunday, July 28th.

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Birds, monkeys, and lumberjacks know the best way to see the forest is from the trees.  That’s why people have been flocking to Chicago’s observation decks for at least 70 years to look down, out, and around at the city’s architecture.

Other people who get to see the city from up on high include white color business executives, construction workers, and web site owners like Joe Zekas from YoChicago!.  He took the photograph below from Wolf Point East.  It shows construction progress at 110 North Wacker along the South Branch of the Chicago River.

110 North Wacker under construction (June 2019, courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

110 North Wacker The Skyscraper replaced 110 North Wacker The Low-Rise Mid-Century Office Slab in the wee months of 2018.  Since then, the wedge-shaped Howard Hughes and Riverside Investment and Development project has been steadily climbing into the city’s skyline wedged between the river and the road, giving boat-borne tourists a good lesson on skyscraper construction.

Revised rendering of 110 North Wacker (via Riverside Investments and Development)

When complete, the 53-story building will have a little over 1.5 million square feet of office space. 

For the owners, the Goettsch Partners design provides scads of column-free goodness, with oodles of corner offices prime for premium pricing.

For the rest of us, there’s a 45-foot-wide extension of the Riverwalk that will run underneath the building western flank.

Rendering of 110 North Wacker
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If you’re a fan of construction cranes, then cast not ye gaze down South Clark Street.  For there, you will not spy the yellow-boned monster that once loomed over Alta Grand Central (207 West Harrison Street).

Alta Grand Central under construction in June 2019 (courtesy of Loop Spy Jody)

A couple of days ago, Loop Spy Jody got to watch as the Liebherr 420 EC-H 16 that helped build this two-tower residential building graced Chicago’s skyline for the last time.  It was disassembled and trucked away to browner pastures where it is needed more.

D2 and Wood Partners‘ Alta Grand Central officially topped off May 24th. Walsh Construction sent over the video below showing the final piece of steel being lifted to the top of the building by the previously mentioned Herr Liebherr.

Alta Grand Central Tops Out in Chicago's South Loop - YouTube

When the Pappageorge Haymes-designed building opens, it will bring 173 new homes to an area of the South Loop that is seeing a surge of development.  In addition to Alta Grand Central, there’s the SouthBank development four feet away, and the Old Main Post Office redevelopment right across the river.

Alta Grand Central under construction in June 2019 (courtesy of Loop Spy Jody)
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When the residential tower at 1200 North Clark known as The Sinclair went up four years ago, people were dazzled by its size, scope, and the fact that combined with other regenerative projects in the area, it was going to transform a semi-gritty corner of Chicago.  But what most people didn’t notice in all the hullabaloo  is that The Sinclair plan came with a little buddy across the street at 1201 North Clark.  That project is under construction now.

July 2019 Construction on 1201 North Clark (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicacgo!)

Joe Zekas from YoChicago! shot the photograph above from the roof of Old Town Park II.  It shows steel work progressing on 1201 North Clark.  

Before Jewel-Osco and Fifield put up The Sinclair, 1201 was an unremarkable four-story building known for itinerant storefronts and not much else.  It’s where we got a motion-sensitive scream box from one of those Halloween pop-up stores. And where we met the woman responsible for Starbucks’ uncomfortable furniture, which seems designed to keep people from spending time inside the cafes.  When we brought it up, she didn’t seem to understand the issue; perhaps because she was tiny and perching on spindly-legged stools wasn’t a problem for her.  But that’s a rant for another time.

1201 North Clark before augmentation (via Apple Maps)

Instead of being replaced, 1201 is getting a four-story vertical extension, just the latest Chicago building to gain height long after it was completed. 

The maximum height permitted for this property is now 125 feet with the extension. It is allowed to have a maximum of 98 residences above the ground floor retail space.

  • January 2015 diagram of the plans for 1201 North Clark
  • January 2015 diagram of the plans for 1201 North Clark
  • January 2015 diagram of the plans for 1201 North Clark
  • January 2015 diagram of the plans for 1201 North Clark
  • January 2015 diagram of the plans for 1201 North Clark

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