Chicago is giving the green light to a new skyscraper that is expected to take the No. 2 spot as the city’s tallest, transforming a major North American skyline.
The development, dubbed Tribune Tower East, has a height of 1,422 feet. Its distinctive 113-story tapering metallic profile and curving glass walls are intended to soar in tandem with, but in stark juxtaposition to, the adjacent 34-story neo-Gothic Tribune Tower.
That landmark at 435 N. Michigan Ave., with its pointed arches and flying buttresses, was completed in 1925. It was the home base for a media empire, including the Chicago Tribune newspaper and WGN Radio, until 2018. The 2 million-square-foot Tribune Tower East will stand closer to Lake Michigan, on the northeast edge of what is now a parking lot behind Tribune Tower at the south end of the city’s Gold Coast.
The City Council finally gave the go-ahead for the $700 million retail, hotel and residential high-rise first proposed more than two years ago as part of the sweeping Tribune Tower remake of the full city block.
“This proposed planned development is an ambitious one: repurposing an iconic Chicago landmark, the historic Tribune Tower, while adding the second tallest skyscraper in the city of Chicago to our world-renowned skyline,” Alderman Brendan Reilly, whose ward includes the site, said in an email to his constituents.
The $1 billion-plus project is the brainchild of Chicago-based Golub and Los Angeles-based CIM Group’s proposal to harmonize the architectural milestone with an opulent modern look aimed at the well-heeled. Former connected Tribune and WGN buildings on the site are part of a plan to develop a luxury condominium and apartment complex with a 200-room boutique hotel and 47,500 square feet of high-end retail.
Designed by Chicago’s Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the skyscraper is poised to edge out the 1,389-foot Trump International Hotel and Tower, also a Smith Gill design, as the city’s second-tallest building. Once completed, it will stand just 29 feet shy of the iconic Willis Tower, Chicago’s longtime tallest. The Studio Gang-designed Vista Tower, expected to be completed this summer, will take the No. 3 position at 1,191 feet until Tribune Tower East opens its doors.
A three-year construction timetable could begin on Tribune Tower East in 2021. Redevelopment on Tribune Tower is already well underway, turning the site into a 162-unit condo building.