Since construction was halted on the Chicago Spire, the Santiago Calatrava-designed skyscraper at 400 N Lake Shore Drive, the hole which was to become the tower’s foundation has become something of a local punchline, variously being caricatured as the site of semi-ironic proposals for inner-city adventure playgrounds or the pit into which the city’s other failed ventures can be metaphorically dumped. But according to a report by the Chicago Tribune, that narrative might be about to change, as their sources within the city government have confirmed that a proposal is in the works to bring two skyscrapers to the site, designed by David Childs of SOM, the lead architect behind 1 World Trade Center.
Images of the proposal have not yet been released, but according to the Tribune the two towers will be 1,000 and 850 feet tall (305 and 259 meters), clad mostly in glass, and will feature multiple setbacks, tapering toward the top of the building. The taller of the two, sited at the site’s southern edge next to the Chicago River, is expected to contain condos and a 175-room hotel, while the shorter northern tower will contain apartments. Altogether, the proposal includes 1.3 million square feet of floor space and is expected to add 850 residential units to the city’s stock.
In addition, the deal between the city and developer Related Midwest would require Related to contribute to the construction of DuSable park, a new public space on the peninsula to the east of the Chicago Spire site that has been under consideration since the 1980s but as yet has never materialized. The plan includes the extension of an existing river walk through the site to connect to the new DuSable Park.
According to the Tribune report, city officials “have expressed cautious optimism” about the proposal, which would finally mark an end to the long saga of the Chicago Spire site. The hole which currently exists at 400 N Lake Shore Drive is all that remains of the Santiago Calatrava-designed Chicago spire, a 2,000-foot-tall (610-meter) spiraling tower that would have been the tallest building in the United States. The project began construction in 2007 but later became a high-profile casualty of the financial crisis, after which the proposal was left in limbo for years before it was finally scrapped in 2014.