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Old January 9th, 2005, 04:18 PM   #1
BVictor1
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300 North LaSalle - 785'/60 fl (Com)

Height: 785 ft
Floor count: 60
Location: North LaSalle and Chicago River
Construction end: 2009
Architect: Pickard Chilton Architects, Inc.
Development firm: Hines Interests LP


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A towering contradiction
New skyscraper is in the works as building chugs along downtown even as vacancy rates pile up in structures of good quality

By Thomas A. Corfman
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 9, 2005

Hines Interests LP has plans for another new skyscraper on a site along the north bank of the Chicago River at LaSalle Street, a move likely to inspire joy in downtown office tenants and strike fear in their landlords.

Preliminary plans call for a tower of about 50 stories with at least 1 million square feet of office space, sources said. The high-rise would replace an existing two-story garage at 300 N. LaSalle St.

Hines' proposal underscores a fundamental contradiction of the downtown office market. Despite fairly high vacancy rates, there has been a steady stream of new construction, a pattern seemingly at odds with the laws of supply and demand.

Yet the building boom is the result of several powerful commercial forces, including the demonstrated desire of tenants to pay a premium rent for the new towers and the willingness of investors to pay top-dollar prices for those buildings once they are completed, real estate industry professionals say.

"It's the alignment of the stars," said Christopher Wood, a senior vice president with tenant representative Equis Corp.

The new buildings have high "preleasing" commitments, and the projects are setting off a scramble among landlords of existing buildings to fill the space that those tenants will leave behind.

Executives with Hines' Chicago office are said to be interviewing architects and have not yet begun formal marketing of the project to potential tenants. Construction wouldn't start until Hines signs a lease with an anchor tenant--or tenants--who would agree to take about two-thirds of the proposed building, sources said.

Gregory Van Schaack, a senior vice president in Hines' Chicago office, declined to comment. Houston-based Hines would acquire the 53,000-square-foot site from a venture controlled by Michael Reschke, former chairman of Prime Group Realty Trust, who also declined to comment.

A new office tower would seem to be the last thing the downtown office market needs. As demand for space has declined since 2000, vacancy rates have risen from 9.8 percent that year to nearly 15 percent in 2004, according to a fourth-quarter market report by Chicago-based MB Real Estate Services LLC.

Yet, surprisingly, the amount of downtown office space has increased 4 percent during that time.

"Chicago is undergoing an extremely ill-timed building boom," the report says.

And with 3.6 million square feet of new office space to be built by next year, vacancy rates are likely to continue rising, even if the local economy expands.

The downtown vacancy rate could rise to 16.4 percent by the end of this year before slowly declining to 15.2 percent by 2008, according to a forecast by MB Real Estate.

Last edited by i_am_hydrogen; October 8th, 2007 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Added rendering to front page.
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Old January 9th, 2005, 07:02 PM   #2
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This is kind of creepy. A friend and I were walking down Wacker last night and we stopped to discuss the horrid little stretch of the north bank between the Sterling (horrid in its own right) and the Mart. We particularly focused on the two-storey parking structure mentioned in this article

I would be quite pleased to see that disappear (although, I'd rather see Wolfe Point developed first).
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Old January 9th, 2005, 11:38 PM   #3
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^Agree completely. Build 'em, damn it! Vacancies are never good, but by locking money into a skyscraper, Chicago will always have wealth of real estate.

BTW, you think the Sterling is ugly? Sure it's a concrete blah but, to be honest, those concrete blahs kind of feel warm and comfly--like they were built 60 years ago..
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Old January 10th, 2005, 03:21 AM   #4
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I dunno... something about the Sterling just rubs me the wrong way - I'm not sure what it is though. Although, I will say that, for the most part, I like what they did with the base and the very small footprint they had to work with.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 03:34 AM   #5
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I like the Sterling. My sister lives there. In terms of architecture, yes, it is a mass of concrete, but it is a much better looking mass of concrete than say, Grand Plaza or 400 N. La Salle, which are both abysmal in that regard. I do regret that the Sterling faces Kinzie with a parking garage...but Garages in buildings of that size are a necessary evil, and at least they did put in a starbucks, pharmacy, 7-11, etc for street level development.

Lets put it this way, in that immediate area, The Sterling and 400 N. La Salle stick out the most because of their height. Side by side, its pretty obvious that while the Sterling certainly is no architectural marvel, it is far ahead of some of its modern counterparts in the area. If they took down that parking garage at 300 N. La Salle and put up a nice office tower....well, that would be a big step in the right direction for that La Salle/River area.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 03:37 AM   #6
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I'm just glad that hideous parking lot is going!!
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Old January 10th, 2005, 08:06 AM   #7
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^ How about something ultramodern there? That's the one thing we don't have on our river. I'm kind of picturing something with a facade like that Jewish Museum on Michigan.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 08:21 AM   #8
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Don't get me wrong JB - I agree that the Sterling is miles ahead of 400 N. LaSalle (and even Grand Plaza), but, how much does that really say?

Osh - The building you're referring to on Michigan is the Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies by Kreuck and Sexton.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 08:52 AM   #9
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^ It doesn't say a whole lot because those buildings, for the most part, stink. I'm just making the case that if the Sterling is "horrid" then I'd be hard pressed to come up with the words for Grand Plaza, 400 N. La Salle, etc. The Sterling is a superior building to many of the other newer developments in that area....say from the river to Ohio, La Salle to State St.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 10:31 AM   #10
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No argument here. There aren't words to describe the pile that is 400 N.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 07:50 PM   #11
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I don't hate 400 N LaSalle. At least it isn't trying to be something that it isn't.

RE: The attempt to look like a Parisian Townhouse, at 840 N Lake Shore Drive. (The building on the right.)

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Old January 11th, 2005, 12:48 AM   #12
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^You don't like 840 N LSD? You must be kidding!

Sure, it's a copycat-style building, but it's ******* beautiful.

Oh, and don't forget, art deco and Greek Revival buildings in the 1910's and 1920's also copied older styles. But we still love them, don't we?

I'm all for new and modern, but a smattering of buildings built in older styles isn't necessarily a bad thing. Chicago is a classy city and should retain a classy look. Of course, the Grand twins are pure shit, no class in those...
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Old January 11th, 2005, 02:58 AM   #13
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Dev!!!! I'm disappointed!!!!!!! 840 is barely shy of masterpiece status in my book. I don't think it makes an attempt to be something that it isn't: it is a classy building on a classy site with a classy design. It's not bogged down in ornament or theory... it just is what it is - a near flawless marriage of classic and post-modern architecture.

If you want to define anything that is not built in the architectural style-de-jour as plagiarism... we would end up with a very stagnate city.

As far as 400 N. LaSalle... what is there to like? It's a curvier version of Plaza 440 (a very ugly building in its own right) with a downright aweful color palette.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 03:03 AM   #14
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OK, OK, I can feel the wet noodles whipping across my backside.

It's just that I am not offended by 400 N LaSalle, and I like the fact that is isn't white, or light beige or light gray.

As for 840 N LSD, well.... I am just not a fan of the faux mansard roof thing. This isn't Paris, it isn't the 1920's, and while it certainly could be worse (like Grand Plaza, what a mistake, make that a double mistake), I am not convinced that this was a good choice for that plot of land.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 03:15 AM   #15
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400 N. Lasalle doesn't offend me as much as some of the others. it's by no means a great building, but i can at least respect it for trying to do something other than a rigid orthagonal box with its concrete structure. it isn't marina city by any stretch of the imagination, but the curves and articulations in the facade give an indication that the architects were at least awake and conscious when designing the tower, unlike grand plaza.

840 N LSD is just kinda a funny to me, i get a kick out out of it simply because its so ridiculous. again, it's not a great building, but at least it's got some comedic value.

as for the topic of this thread, emporis has this 50 story proposal listed as an "never built" project. anyone know what gives?
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:37 AM   #16
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Probably an old project. Maybe the old one got approved, so this developer knows that if he generally stays with the same scale, it's going to get approved without a hassle?
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Old January 11th, 2005, 07:21 AM   #17
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And back off-topic we go Weeeeeee!!! At any rate... belive me Dev... it's not the stone color on 400 N. that bothers me - it's the color of the windows! Could the teal be any more offensive?! I think not

I will agree, however, that at least it looks like it was designed by an architect rather than the construction crew that was charged with building it.
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Old April 28th, 2005, 03:35 AM   #18
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The tower proposed for that parking garage at La Salle and the rivver now has an architect chosen! This is from the Tribune Today:

Architect chosen: Jon Pickard, an architect with rising national prominence, has been hired to design the riverfront office skyscraper at 300 N. LaSalle St. proposed by Hines Real Estate Interests LP, confirmed Gregory Van Schaack, a senior vice president in Hines' Chicago office.

Pickard, 50, a former associate of Cesar Pelli, is design principal with New Haven, Conn.-based Pickard Chilton Architects Inc., which he co-founded in 1997.


Here's some pics of Pickard's work. Looking at these photos makes me REALLY REALLY excited about this project, especially the symphony center project below! Hopefully Hines won't be cheap with this design because this site on the river deserves a REALLY GOOD DESIGN. If this firm does produce the high quality work they've produced in the past the design for this tower will look really really GOOD with Trump and Waterview down the river.

Here's some current/previous work by them from their website
www.pickardchilton.com/proj_calpers_01.html

50 stories, Atlanta






This is a design for a 40 story tower in Houston








A 25 story mid-size tower in Atlanta for merril lynch



Columbus tower, a 40 story building in Miami




A proposed office building for Atlanta






This is 26 story tower in Montreal that was Financed by Hines. Hopefully this serves as being some proof that hines cares about design.






NOT EVERY BUILDING BY PICKARD CHILTON IS GOOD THOUGH, so we shouldn't be completely confident about this one.

here are some less foward thinking and thrilling designs







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Old April 28th, 2005, 05:41 AM   #19
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This is great to dream about, but I don't see how this tower can get built in this environment. Granted that commercial construction has continued apace despite a supply/demand imbalance. But predictions from Grubb & Ellis real estate are that downtown vacancies will not shrink this year. At some point construction will stop until demand catches up with supply.
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Old April 28th, 2005, 09:23 AM   #20
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Its kinda small and you cant really see detail but here it is:

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