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Old October 27th, 2005, 08:44 AM   #1
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Chicago - 2000 foot Television Tower designed by Cesar Pelli

The following info was originally posted by The Urban Politician....

Articles in the Tribune:

2,000-foot TV tower may pierce skyline

By Thomas A. Corfman and Blair Kamin
Tribune staff reporters
Published October 25, 2005

Imagine this addition to Chicago's fabled skyline: a futuristic, tweezer-shaped broadcast tower looming 2,000 feet over the lakefront as one of the world's tallest structures.

The digital age may soon bring this sleek, scissors-like conversation piece to the city, within clear view of the tourists at Navy Pier who will either ooh with awe or laugh with disbelief.

To be designed by prominent architect Cesar Pelli, the tower would help redefine Chicago's horizon. Rising above the skyline between the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower, it would usher in a new era of daring, ultramodern architecture for the city. Another sensation would be a proposed Santiago Calatrava-designed skyscraper shaped like a drill bit.

The $300 million Pelli tower would function as a platform for local television stations to mount their new high-definition broadcasting antennas.

Instead of building a conventional building that reserves roof space for antennas, the developers--J. Paul Beitler and LR Development Co.--are proposing the lower-cost option of a needle-thin, triple-spired tripod. At the top would be several floors for restaurants and an observation deck, and at the base would be a 400-car garage. The tapered space in between would be largely open, except for six large beams connecting the spires.

"It is a very intelligent structure," said Pelli, in a telephone interview from his office in New Haven, Conn. He compared the structure to a ship's mast, saying it will be "a very handsome form next to the water."

The proposed broadcast tower, which would be located along Lake Shore Drive between Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, would jump past the CN Tower in Toronto, which at 1,815 feet holds the title as the world's tallest free-standing broadcast tower.

But comparing tall structures is complicated, so much so that it can seem the height of absurdity.

Not a building

For one, the structure could not lay claim to becoming one of the world's tallest buildings because it isn't technically a building--its structure would not be filled with floors as in a conventional skyscraper.

Currently, the world's tallest building is the 1,671-foot Taipei 101 in Taiwan, but other superstructures are under development.

Among broadcast antennas, the proposed lakefront structure is taller than the CN Tower but would fall short of a guywire-supported radio mast antenna in North Dakota, as well as an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, according to reports.

Beitler, president and chief executive of the Chicago-based real estate firm that bears his name, confirmed the broad outlines of the project, which does not yet have city approval.

"We are not out to have the tallest building in the world, or the tallest anything," Beitler said. "That's simply silly because somebody will come along and build something taller. There have been a lot of tombstones put up for people who proposed the `tallest.' The problem has always been financeability, and we have financing."

The project would be driven by agreements, not yet signed, with local television stations, which are preparing for a shift to exclusively high-definition broadcasting, expected to be required in 2009.

Beitler declined to comment on the status of any talks with broadcasters. Local television stations currently broadcast HDTV and traditional analog broadcast signals from the 1,451-foot Sears Tower in the West Loop and the 1,127-foot John Hancock Center on North Michigan Avenue, where they lease space.

But television executives have long wanted a third option that they would control, and in the late 1990s even floated a proposal for a free-standing antenna mast that would have been located either in the suburbs or on the West Side.

The selling point of the new tower is that high-definition signals need to emanate from the highest, least obstructed point.

Still, the new tower is not a done deal.

Neighbors overwhelmed

In addition to tough negotiations with broadcasters, the latest proposal will likely be an even tougher sell to Streeterville residents, many of whom already feel overwhelmed by new high-rise construction and suffocated by traffic generated by Navy Pier.

The proposed site, which is zoned for a 610-foot structure, is just a few blocks north of a riverfront parcel where another developer has proposed a 115-story condominium/hotel to be designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava that would also soar to 2,000 feet.

As originally proposed in July, the Calatrava tower did not include broadcast facilities. But developer Christopher Carley said he may eventually add broadcast transmission facilities to his project, called Fordham Spire.

"As the time goes on, there is going to be more and more demand for these high antennas, not only high definition," said Carley, chairman of Chicago-based Fordham Co.

He said he has not had any discussions with local broadcasters, and didn't think the newly proposed broadcast tower would affect his project.

Whether the lakefront could accommodate two tall towers so close by would depend on neighborhood residents, who Carley expected would raise several concerns to the broadcast tower.

"It's not the height per se," he said. "It's more traffic, density, blocked views and shadows."

Beitler said the Planning Department has been briefed on the plans.

"I think it would be very dynamic to have two great architects like this put up buildings so close to each other," said Beitler. "I think they are so completely different from each other it would be interesting."

The proposed broadcast tower would be on a 41,000-square-foot site owned by a joint venture that includes LR Development, a Chicago luxury residential firm, and JER Partners, a Virginia investment firm.

Thomas Weeks, president of LR Development, declined comment.

Beitler is a veteran office developer whose projects include the Pelli-designed 181 W. Madison St. and 131 S. Dearborn St. In the late 1980s Beitler and Lee Miglin proposed a "world's tallest" tower for a Loop site, but the deal ended in foreclosure.

Beitler's partner, LR Development, also is co-owner of the site that developer Carley would buy for the Calatrava tower.


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Name should be the Why Tower
Loony, daffy, thin and chunky: Not a pretty sight as viewed from pier or anywhere

By Blair Kamin
Tribune architecture critic
Published October 25, 2005

There have been lots of loony ideas floated for the Chicago skyline, but the proposed 2,000-foot-tall broadcast tower that two Chicago developers want to build along the lakefront, at least in its present form, appears to be among the looniest.

Despite its futuristic curves, this isn't Buck Rogers architecture. It's Duck Dodgers design, utterly daffy, a cartoonish version of tomorrow. As is, the plan would inflict upon the skyline a scaleless hybrid that would be half-building, half-broadcast tower, but nowhere near a satisfying whole.

The plan is far less poetic than Santiago Calatrava's proposed twisting tower, which could rise as high as 2,000 feet a few blocks to the south, and far less powerful than the X-braced John Hancock Center, which offers an unsurpassed synthesis of blue-collar might and black-tie elegance.

One has to wonder why on earth would Mayor Richard M. Daley and his city planners ever take seriously this "Tall Tower"? (Now there's a scintillating name.) Perhaps because there's a towering amount of clout behind it.

Among the developers are J. Paul Beitler, who joined with partner Lee Miglin to unveil the 1,914-foot Miglin-Beitler Tower, a project killed by the early 1990s building bust. This time, Beitler is partnering with LR Development Co., which has built in silk-stocking districts around town.

The developers signed up New Haven, Conn., architect Cesar Pelli and New York City structural engineer Charles Thornton. They designed the Miglin-Beitler Tower as well as the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, which in 1996 stripped Sears Tower of its world's tallest building title.

The proposed broadcast tower, on the west side of Lake Shore Drive between Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, is, at least, conceptually intriguing.

Traditionally, a broadcast tower like Toronto's CN Tower has been the equivalent of an olive on a toothpick--a giant post with a bulge near the top where restaurants and observation decks went.

But this tower would be more like a tripod, with three sets of paired legs and a giant void between them. The legs, whose concrete would be exposed or covered in metal, would taper as they rose. Big concrete beams every 10 to 15 stories would stabilize them. Somewhere around 1,600 feet or 1,700 feet, the legs would form a platform for the "candelabra" of three tapering broadcast antennas, as Gregg Jones, an associate principal at Pelli's firm and a design leader on the project, explained.

The three-legged format is considered ideal for transmitting high-definition television signals. Three antennas. Three legs. It's simple, pragmatic and efficient. Very Chicago. The void between the legs would do more than reduce the wind's force on the tower. It might allow the owner to someday create a plug-in city in the sky, filling parts of the void with offices, condominiums or a hotel, though Beitler said such a plan is not under consideration.

But the design, which places a 400-space parking garage at the tower's base and three restaurants and an observation deck near the top, works neither as a stand-alone object nor as a part of the cityscape.

The tower simultaneously manages to be thin, which is good, and chunky, which isn't. Whatever benefits the concrete legs offer in structural efficiency--a supertall tower of three sides, not the typical four--they look dreadfully bulky. The problem, on a fundamental level, has to do with scale.

One of the reasons the Hancock is such a triumph is that its X-braces break down the monolithic form of its tapering obelisk. But here, there is nothing to mediate between the enormous legs and the teeny, curvy, glass-sheathed forms of the garage and observation deck. Even if the tower is sheathed in concrete, Pelli and crew will have to labor mightily to give it a human scale at ground level. If it is done in exposed concrete, it may look like a rocket launchpad, far too crude for its showcase lakefront site.

Oh, yes, the lakefront.

Is it just me or is anybody else terrified by the prospect of two 2,000-foot towers rising within a few blocks of each other along Lake Michigan? In all likelihood, only one will be built, or maybe neither. But if we have to choose, Calatrava's would be far superior, its dazzling piece of skyline sculpture easily besting this clunky sculptural wannabe.

Why must this tower go here? Simply because the developers have the land?

A prospective synergy with Navy Pier hardly justifies the placement. Yes, tourists might head from the pier to the tower's restaurant and observation deck. But there's one problem: They'd have to look at this rocket launch pad from the pier. And so would the rest of us.

* * *

Render posted by yoyoniner

From archidose, posted by spyguy999

Article posted by spyguy999

2,000-foot 'antenna' could land near Navy Pier - Chicago Sun Times

October 26, 2005

BY DAVID ROEDER Business Reporter

First there was the drill-bit building. Now, about a block from it on the city's lakefront, comes a proposal for something that looks like needle-nosed pliers.

Veteran dealmakers J. Paul Beitler and LR Development Co. LLC said Tuesday they have shown the city plans for a 2,000-foot-tall tower that would serve as an antenna host for the digital broadcast needs of local stations.

The tower would be the tallest in the city, which would be necessary to provide clear broadcast signals.

Proposed for an empty lot LR controls at Peshtigo and Illinois streets in Streeterville, the tower would contain some restaurants near its top and a parking garage at the bottom. The balance of the design by architect Cesar Pelli would just be the structure's see-through bracing.

It's a new variation of an idea that has knocked around the city for years. Chicago's TV stations in the late 1990s considered different locations for an antenna tower, but ended up renewing agreements with the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center. That could happen again, and that's only one of the obstacles facing the proposed $300 million project.

The site is across Lake Shore Drive from Lake Point Tower and Navy Pier and immediately north of a proposed 115-story condominium building, the drill bit designed by Santiago Calatrava. The height of the Calatrava building is indefinite, but it could reach 2,000 feet with a spire.

With aldermanic and mayoral elections ahead in 2007, both projects could have a tough haul getting city approval.

Beitler, whose plans for a "world's tallest building'' at Madison and Wells fell apart in the 1980s, said he showed the antenna tower to Mayor Daley a couple of weeks ago. He said the mayor and downtown's alderman, Burton Natarus (42nd), encouraged him to file a zoning request for the project, but urged him to seek neighborhood support.

LR President Thomas Weeks said the building should add relatively little to traffic congestion. He said it'll serve as an extra attraction for Navy Pier tourists.

"This is quite a compelling alternative'' to the standard proposal for a condo building, Weeks said. "We believe the neighborhood will accept it, if not embrace it.''

A spokesman for the city's Planning Department had no comment on the proposal. Jim Houston, president of the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, said the civic group will have no position until it sees details.

Beitler said the project has a commitment for construction financing from LaSalle Bank.

The estimated three-year construction project could begin next July if city approvals are received, Beitler said.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 08:55 AM   #2
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Hey, thanks Hydrogen for posting it up here!

It is another great news for Chicago!

I think that for this extreme tall TV Tower to be great, it has to be way taller then 2000ft or FST for that matters and away from the streetville/skyscraper area near lake shore dr(best location should be next to Navy Pier IMHO)!

If Chicago decided not to place the HDTV antenna on top of Fordham Spires then Yes, it is great that Chicago has looking for an unique extreme tall TV tower that will serve great purposes for Chicago particularly Navy pier area!
First, I think that the height should be a lot higher then 2000ft! If Fordham Spires also being construct in the future and both of them being quite close together, it looks kind of awkward having two same height supertalls stand next to each other! So height for TV tower should be way taller with condiering to the height of Fordham Spires, change it to something like 2100ft to 2500ft!
I also like the design and purpose of it cause the TV tower will dedicate the bottom for car parking(hopefully alot more spaces then currently 400 car lots planned) which is really good for the thriving navy pier area as travlers and buses can find easy and closer places to park or even for the residents near Navier Pier. Oh, I also like the restaurant and observatory deck on the top of it! How about a casino on the top section of it? since it is away from the population on the Navy Pier and if construct, will be the world's tallest casino in the world,lol!
I think the location of it should be closer to navy pier, that way, it stands away from the skyscraper area of lake shore drive and it also serves navy pier as another lesiure location for the city! Top of it being the tallest observatory in the world and also if it building next of navy pier, the view can be really awsome looking from southwest to northwest with pano like chicago skyline!
I am all for this TV tower designed by Cesar Pelli only if it is way higher then 2000 ft and next to Navy Pier!

I think that this TV Tower should defienitely build in the Navy Pier serving as attraction(Observatory), lesiure on the top(Restaurant,Casino, Navy Pier Mall, Game Arcades) and tons of parking lots on its bottom!
By doing so, it will resolve the tension of streetville residents for yet another supertall in front of their lake view,lol! Also it will redirect the traffic of lake shore dr towards Navy pier area and not crowded it along with another supertall Fordham Spires tower near the Lake shore dr.!
I think by having it in the Navy pier, this approach is more friendly for chicago skyline, residents and urban layout and of course the traffic!
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Old October 27th, 2005, 12:01 PM   #3
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LOL, the Sears Tower looks short next to Chicago's new proposals.
Dude where's my car?
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Old October 27th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #4
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Chicago's skyline in gonna look amazing when these buildings will be built!

Last edited by effer; October 28th, 2005 at 01:39 AM.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 03:45 PM   #5
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I think it looks great, but I thought we were all going to be watching television over the internet in the near future and I therefore see little financial sense to this proposal.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 06:55 PM   #6
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Looks great, but I wish it was placed better. Putting it right smack next to fordham spire detracts from the beauty and relative height of both, and skews the symmetry of the skyline
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Old October 27th, 2005, 07:02 PM   #7
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Old October 27th, 2005, 07:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bob
I think it looks great, but I thought we were all going to be watching television over the internet in the near future and I therefore see little financial sense to this proposal.

This isn't a likely thing for quite a while, as well, the broadcast antennas are often used to get the signal from the broadcaster, to the delivery company (cable company, satellite company)
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Old October 27th, 2005, 07:10 PM   #9
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i think it looks better than fordham spire,but for some reason this seems like a fantasy project
"Architects are pretty much high-class whores. We can turn down projects the way they can turn down some clients, but we've both got to say yes to someone if we want to stay in business"Philip Johnson

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Old October 27th, 2005, 07:11 PM   #10
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I honestly don't think Chicago has a need for these buildings...other than the fact than they feel the need to build solely for the purpose of being tall
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Old October 27th, 2005, 07:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by The Mad Hatter!!
i think it looks better than fordham spire,but for some reason this seems like a fantasy project
you must be mad!!!pun intended
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Old October 27th, 2005, 09:16 PM   #12
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It does seem to have a similar structure to 7SD.
I respected your views, so I expect you do to the same.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 09:37 PM   #13
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It would be better if it WAS 7SD
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Old October 27th, 2005, 09:59 PM   #14
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do you have to get to the tower to destroy the ring???
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Old October 27th, 2005, 09:59 PM   #15
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I can't believe people are saying this "tall tower" looks nice! If this thing were to actually be built, think of the precedent -- you'd have similar eyesores, digital TV towers, sprouting in every major city in the developed world. The Calatrava tower has met with a fair share of criticism but compared with this monstrosity it's a great work of art.

I've seen the CN Tower in Toronto, and honestly, I don't think it does much for the skyline. It's a shame -- Toronto is a great world city but its image globally is a gigantic needle sticking up from the skyline. I don't want to see the same for Chicago.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 10:15 PM   #16
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I like it, and it'll be cool to have yet another tall observation deck. I just hope in person, it won't stick out like two sore thumbs with the Fordham Spire.

When are the two supposed to be finished? How far along is the Fordham Spire to being approved?
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Old October 27th, 2005, 10:30 PM   #17
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Great news for chicago but they need to break the 2000ft mark.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 10:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by I-275westcoastfl
Great news for chicago but they need to break the 2000ft mark.
At the moment that is impossible in the US as the FAA owns everything over 2000'. These two are max outs to the current law
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Old October 27th, 2005, 10:43 PM   #19
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woow thats great news.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 11:20 PM   #20
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Before SSC lets you register they should have a disclaimer stating "I understand that 2000 ft and above IS possible in the United States of America with proper approval" and make you agree so that you don't post wrong information a number of topics.
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