Archive for November, 2006

New High Rise on Michigan Ave and Randolph

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

According to some of the posts at , a new high rise is planned for the space between Millennium Park Plaza and Randolph, where La Strada is currently located. I wouldn’t have thought there is enough space there to contruct a new high rise. Units facing south will lose their view of the park.

I found a Sun-Time article discussing the development –

“Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Advisory Council, said the quality of the architecture will make or break the project. “Millions of people will be looking up at that building. It should be close to a work of art.”

It would join a vista from the park that includes the One and Two Prudential Plaza buildings, Aon Center and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Building that is due for a 24-story addition. A block to the north are two development sites: one due to get a 65-story Mandarin Oriental hotel and another that’s a possible expansion site for the Fairmont Hotel. “

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Lakeshore East Aqua Construction

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Aqua construction will be complicated by a few factors including the architecture and the height – contruction will continue on the upper floors as multiple types of tenants will start using the lower floors.

From GlobeSt – [There will be the] “requirements of residential, commercial and office tenants while the construction crews are still building the upper floors, Alexander says. “This rarely happens, but I think with the taller buildings it will become more common, you’ll see it at the Trump International Tower in Chicago before our project,” Alexander says. “Moving construction crews around tenants is challenging, we have to handle noise, dust, and even separating vertical transportation, they can’t use the same elevators. Safety is also a huge concern, as is keeping water out of the building, basically the top of the building is open during construction.”

More information at
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Most Expensive Square Feet in Chicago

Friday, November 24th, 2006

The Sun-Times writes that construction on the “Chicago Spire” (formerly Fordham Spire) may start as early as June 2007 and prices may be close to some of the most expensive condo prices per foot in the United States, roughly double the top prices now offered in Chicago.

From the Sun-Times – “A Chicago developer experienced with high-rise construction voiced doubt over the enterprise, saying Kelleher needs to achieve prices that are “off the planet.” Told of that comment, Murphy replied, “They’re not off the planet. They may be off the continent.”

The article goes on to say that Chicago prices look cheap to European and others who may like to have a part-time Chicago home in the Spire. Savills PLC, a London marketing company with 140 offices around the world was chosen as the marketing firm and might partner with a local firm for sales in the Chicago area.

More information at –

Also, from Crain’s Chicago Business – “Condo developers typically must sell about half of the units in a condo project to secure a construction loan. It’s unclear whether Shelbourne would be able to hit that target in less than six months — a tough task at the high end of a soft downtown condo market. Yet Mr. Murphy was confident the developer will obtain financing regardless of condo sales.”

The article goes on to say that the project is definitely a work in progress and that the name Chicago Spire may change yet again.

More info at –

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What is “Lower New Eastside”?

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

Richard Ward has a number of comments and photographs on his web site.

When I consider the streets down under, I think of a weather-shielded passage to the Loop area e.g. Marshall Field’s / Macy’s that is a bit dirty (we’ll take the stroller but won’t roll it into our apt. after) and perhaps unsafe — I would not recommend friends to use it after dark, which is basically commute time now in the winter.

Correct me if I’m wrong (leave a comment), but it seems these “lower” streets will not exist in the Lakeshore East development. Lower Harbor Dr. became a Lancaster parking lot. If you look at all the new developments, it’s not clear where the ingress/egress will be for the new buildings. It appears that it will be all on top. (?)


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Friday, November 10th, 2006

This morning, Comed roped off a portion of area that has been boarded up for the past week or so, that is in the new “Lakeshore East” (or whatever they will call it) park. The park will be turned over to the Chicago Park District for maintanence in the coming years, not sure yet changes that may entail for park users.

At the last NEAR meeting Natarus ranted/talked for a while about dogs on leashes and picking up after them. I hope the dogs on leashes idea never gets enforced in the new park, I love to see 5 to 8 tiny dogs running around in circles and my daughter playing with them in the open field.

The larger or problematic dogs (or just dogs with cautious owners) can go to the fenced in area. :-P

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Children’s Park

Friday, November 10th, 2006

I have reported on this previously although I have not stressed it — the Monro East garage will soon be dug up down four levels and everything on top (tennis courts, playground) will be gone! for a couple or more of years. This is part of the 99-year lease deal of all of the Grant Park garages to Morgan Stanley approved a couple weeks ago.

It is not unexpected as the South and North (Millenium Park) garages were recently reconstructed and Monro East is next on the list, although the reconstruction might be considered a bit premature, it could last another 10 or 20 years ?

Personally I don’t care about the short-term loss of the tennis courts so much, but I think there should be some serious consideration to build a temporary playground for the kids during the couple or few years of construction. Note that the Lakeshore East playground is only for very young kids, the playground in Grant Park is much more varied, the equipment/installations are rated 2-5 years and 5-12 years. The Lakeshore East park equipment is for toddlers.

end editorial – Eric
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Calatrava Spire

Monday, November 6th, 2006

“A few new twists in the saga of the Calatrava spire”

From the Chicago Sun-Times — “Murphy also said Kelleher is returning deposits of prospective buyers for about 90 units in the condo and hotel building. Is that because costs have escalated so much that the sales prices cannot be honored? Murphy said no, that’s it’s just the fair thing to do because unit layouts will change.”

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Agora in Grant Park

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Just before Halloween, “Agora” started to be unveiled on the southwest corner of Grant Park (approximately the opposite end of the New Eastside residential area which includes Lakeshore East).

I had a chance to speak with a woman at a recent Grant Park Conservancy meeting who filled me in on some details.

The artist is a friend of Frank Gehry’s and it is partly due to his design on Millenium Park that led to her being invited to install Agora. Over 100 headless, armless permanent sculptures are being installed in stages as the 9-foot tall structures can only be brought in a couple or few per day. The sculptures are designed to be walked around and in some sense no Grant Park ground is being given up for the art, as you can walk between the sculptures.

I joked that the area can still be used and in fact has been enhanced by the installation for the purpose of Frisbee golf. – Eric

There is more information in a recent article from the .
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Fire At 340 On The Park

Monday, November 6th, 2006

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, a fire broke out from a small heating unit at “340 On The Park” last Thursday. The situation was contained within 20 minutes and one worker who tried to put the fire out was treated for smoke inhalation.

“About 150 workers were in the 62-story building at 340 E. Randolph St. when fire broke out on the 26th floor just before 3:30 p.m., Chicago Fire Department spokesman Kevin MacGregor said.”

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Deal to lease four downtown parking garages wins City Council approval

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

From the Chicago Tribune — “Under the 99-year deal, Morgan Stanley will lease the Millennium Park Garage from the city and the Grant Park North, Grant Park South and East Monroe Street Garages from the Park District. Most of the proceeds will be used to retire debt on the garages and to make improvements in neighborhood parks.

“Mayor Richard Daley acknowledged the “emotional debate” but asserted that the lease represents “an outstanding deal for the taxpayers of the city of Chicago” and an opportunity to improve the parks.”

Despite the mayor’s comment about improving the parks… according to reports at a recent NEAR meeting, as part of the East Monroe Street garage reconstruction, the Park District Fieldhouse at the Daley Bicentenniel Plaza will be demolished and Morgan Stanley is not planning to rebuild it. – Eric

More from the Chicago Tribune –“Of the transaction total, $122 million would go toward improving neighborhood parks citywide over the next two years.”

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