Aldermen on Tuesday advanced a proposal to build what could become the second-tallest building in Chicago — and the third tallest in the United States — on what is now a surface parking lot next to the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue.
The $700 million proposal from developers CIM Group and Golub & Company would rise 1,422 feet in the air and feature 564 for-sale units and apartments along with a 200-room hotel on 102 floors.
Dubbed Tribune Tower East, the slim silver tower would knock the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago down to third place on the list of the city’s tallest buildings and to sixth place on the list of the country’s tallest buildings. The Willis Tower will remain Chicago’s tallest building, and the second tallest in the nation, behind One World Trade Center in New York City.
Tribune Tower East would join Vista Tower, set to be completed this year, remaking Chicago’s skyline during a massive downtown development boom that is imperiled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) called the building “very beautiful” and said it was a “big win” that the pandemic and the economic crisis had not stalled plans for the tower, which is being built by the same team that is transforming the Tribune Tower, the former home of the Chicago Tribune, into luxury condominiums.
However, Burnett said he wished there were more units set aside for low- and moderate-income Chicagoans, an issue that was the focus of debate when the project was considered by the Chicago Plan Commission.
Just 11 of the 564 residential units will be earmarked for Chicagoans earning 60% or less than the area’s median income, which is approximately $53,000 for a family of four.
To fulfill the rest of the project’s obligation under the Affordable Requirements Ordinance, the developers will pay $13 million into the city’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, which the city uses to build and subsidize housing for low-income Chicagoans.
The plan, which is scheduled to be considered Wednesday by the full City Council, would also pay $15 million into the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund in return for permission to build a taller and more dense building. That fund fuels efforts to boost economic development on the South and West sides by offering small business grants.
Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward includes most of downtown, said he was especially pleased that the development includes plans to redesign Pioneer Court outside the Tribune Tower, which is now “banged-up” and an “eyesore.”
The resigned plaza will include more green space, a new path to Cityfront Plaza and outdoor seating, Reilly said.