City planners OK 2nd-tallest building in Chicago. Now the hard part begins

Luxury skyscraper project known as Tribune Tower East receives approval, but hotel component may not work

TRD CHICAGO /
May.May 11, 2020 12:00 PM
Golub & Company CEO & President Michael Newman, Managing Principal Lee Golub and a rendering of Tribune Tower East

Golub & Company CEO & President Michael Newman, Managing Principal Lee Golub and a rendering of Tribune Tower East

The Chicago Plan Commission has approved a plan to construct a 1,422-foot hotel and residential tower east of Tribune Tower, but much remains up in the air.

Golub & Company’s Lee Golub told the commission that “it’s tough to be able to predict in today’s world” and may have to swap out the hotel portion given the immense difficulties in that sector caused by the pandemic.

The $700 million building, set to rise in late 2021 or early 2022 next to the under-construction Tribune Tower, calls for 439 upscale apartments, 125 luxury condos and a 200-key hotel. Developers Golub and CIM Group have made a similar luxury play at the Tribune Tower, and there’s a good chance the market can’t support so much luxury product.

The planning commissioners endorsed the plan Friday, though several expressed disappointment with the lack of affordable housing on-site, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Just 11 apartments at the Tribune Tower East are designated affordable for renters making 60 percent of the area median income. The developers said they’re providing $13 million to support construction of affordable units off-site, and are required to pay $15 million to the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, the Tribune reported.

Golub said that it cost over $200 million just to acquire the land, which makes it impractical to build more affordable units, according to the Sun-Times.

The City Council is expected to give a final vote sometime this year.

The tower at 421-451 N. Michigan Ave. would displace Trump Tower — 1,389 feet — as the city’s second tallest, and would rank behind only the Willis Tower, which rises 1,451 feet. [Sun-Times] – James Kleimann


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