Related Midwest revealed a redesign of its 400 Lake Shore Drive project, located at the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The developer hopes that the changes—which include a height chop and elimination of the hotel and podium, among other concessions—are enough to placate neighbors, and thus the alderman, ahead of a 2021 groundbreaking.
“This is our eighth project in the last 25 years in Streeterville,” said Curt Bailey, Related Midwest president. “We’re very proud of the work that we’ve done here in the past and the changes that we’ve seen in Streeterville. We look forward to this project being the next step in the evolution of this neighborhood.”
Located on the infamous site of the failed Chicago Spire, the project was first unveiled in May 2018 and would install two towers, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s David M. Childs. The new design maintains the sister towers’ soaring setbacks reminiscent of waterfalls, “Chicago window” bays and the use of terra cotta cladding.
The scaled-back design now calls for a 765-foot, 500-unit South Tower and an 875-foot North Tower containing 600 units. It remained unclear how the programming of these 1,100 units will shake out; Related Midwest is still contemplating what percentage will be rental and how many will be condos.
One massive change is the elimination of the 175-key hotel called for in the original plan. The redesign also eliminates a multi-story podium linking the two towers. According to Bailey, the project will have no commercial component aside from a small coffee shop or similar use.
Related Midwest unveiled the changes last night to a packed crowd at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, where the response was largely positive.
“We had an opportunity to preview this plan and we had many pleasant surprises,” said Deborah Gershbein, president of Streeterville Organization of Active Residents. “We are thrilled that the alderman and Related Midwest have listened to the community.”
Other changes address safer and more walkable pedestrian paths, as well as traffic impacts on North Water Street, including measures to eliminate a connection between that thoroughfare and Lake Shore Drive. Residents using the property’s underground, 300-stall parking garage will be able to enter and exit from either street, but other drivers will not have a direct path between the two.
Related Midwest is committing $10 million to the completion of the 3.3-acre DuSable Park, just east of Lake Shore Drive. The new plan will ensure that the park can only be accessed from the Riverwalk, not from a path along Ogden Slip. That park will serve as a staging area for construction of the first tower, after which it will be open to the public.
In response to neighborhood feedback, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly nixed the first proposal from Related Midwest. However, he seemed more amenable to this redesign.
“By no stretch is this project approved, but I think it is fair to say a lot of progress has been made,” said Alderman Reilly. “It’s certainly headed in the right direction.”
If approved, Related Midwest is targeting completion for three-and-a-half years from the start of construction for the towers.