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What'u smokin' Willis?
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know it seems like the setup to a swipe at the village. (In fact, I think I did make a one along this line in the Chicago in 2050 thread), but this is one of those "truth is stranger than fiction stories.

The story in brief: 113 stories and 1,300 feet tall. Proposed in 1968 by developer Lee Romano for his "Schaumburg Planet" mixed use development. Financing was never found and the whole thing fell through.



The only good render. Seems very WTC-eske.






 

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born again cyclist
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thank you so much for researching this. i knew i didn't make it up in my mind.

how crazy would it have been if this somehow went through? would chicagoland be a different place today?
 

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What'u smokin' Willis?
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
No problem. It's facinating how many lost supertalls there are in Chicago's history. There's this, the 3 World Trade Center designs by Stanely Raskow, and a 109 story tower known only as "Project D" (as in Dearborn st) along the river which I'm currently researching. All would have been the tallest in the world at the time they were proposed.

Project D Thread
 

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I think it would have konda cool.....that type of dense development would be better than mile upon square mile of single family homes......the views to the skyline would have been cool as well


the scale of this idea is incredibly impressive.....I mean what is 30+ building all of which are fairly large....Schaumburg would be quite differenet today......I wonder how much this would have affect growth patterns......perhaps it would have has a cascade effect and spurred more dense growth nearby and Schaumburg today would be a node in a rather impressive array of buildings.....

.....of course how would it have affected development DT??
 

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YOU FOUND THE ARTICLES! Jolly good job sir. Yeah, I knew this project was real when I talked to former Sun-Times architecture critic Lee Bay about this project whom mentioned that this project was proposed and approved twice, but never moved off the drawing board.

What is even more impressive was the plan for a 120 story building in Barrington Heights, litterally the middle of nowhere back then, although it would have been next to the old Chicago and Northwestern train line (now the Metra line to Harvard). I never heard anything about that project at all. Had these projects been completed and succussful, there is no doubt in my mind Chicagoland would have been a much better designed metro. Just think about it, if these projects turned a proffit, were seen as luxurous, hailed as a community icon, and proved to be a cash cow for the municipality, just think about how many other dense mixed-use projects would have sprung up at nodes of the metro. Just think about how much less NIMBYism there would be if living near high-rises was common in the suburbs, like it is in some other parts of the world. Just think how much better public transit might have been with demand to commute beween such areas, think about how much more open space our metro could have if projects like these were built throughout the suburbs and lastley think about how cool some of our post-war suburbs would look, they would have thier own identies, become destinations rather than a sea of souless conformity. Chicagoland would have looked amazingly different than most other places on earth, and perhaps could have started a trend that allowed our post-war suburbs to be functional, walkable mixed-use communities rather than a maze of of unstainable sprawl. What a huge lost opportunity, quite possibily the greatest lost of the mid-late 20th century in terms of the built environment. These two projects could have really set a trend and changed the growth patterns of suburbia in this nation. Damn, somebody get me a wad of cash and a time machine. ;)
 

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Jack-Of-All-Trades
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DT probably would not be as big as it is today, but combined the metro area would be the biggest two-city metro in the world. We probably would not have gotten all the buildings of the 70s, 80s and 90s in DT (Thompson Center, Citibank, and JHC come to mind).

But still - for any of us out in the NW burbs it's easy to see that the shaded plot in the last article is a ridiculously large area of land. It could also have made my hometown, the Barringtons, an area similar to Buckhead in Atlanta, since the wealth levels are similar. We would have upscale shopping, restaurants, and shortscapers in South Barrington, as supposed to the crap in general that we have now.

Shawn - do you have any more info about this proposed building? It would seriously be within 1/4 mile of my house.
 

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^No, honestly this article is the first I have ever heard about it. I have known about Schaumburg Planets, but this Barrington Space Needle is news to me. Must have never made it past concept stage.
 

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What'u smokin' Willis?
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Here's all there is on Merrill Foster and his proposals. I'd put it into the vision category rather than the serious proposal group.





Blow up of the first Schaumberg pic. I'm pretty sure I see a vertical emphasis on the tower, looks very much like a squared tube design, complete with the exterior truss.
 

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WoW, a skyscraper in Schaumburg... it will be in the middle of nowhere... what not just it a few miles East in Chicago?

I wonder how if this skyscraper was built in Schaumburg would change it, maybe more urban... but isn't it silly, a 2000 ft skyscraper, next to 200 foot ones...
 

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What'u smokin' Willis?
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It would have been across the street from Woodfield Mall. That alone is a mind-blowing juxtaposition.

It's a damn shame what got built on that site. There's like four 6 story office buildings and a massive parking lot.
 

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STR said:
It's a damn shame what got built on that site. There's like four 6 story office buildings and a massive parking lot.
Well it doesn't come as much of shock. It's not like we could have actually expected this tower to have been built. I'd like to see more 30-50 story buildings in the suburbs before I'd take something like this serious.
 

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What'u smokin' Willis?
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You misunderstand. What I meant was, that even for Schaumburg, that plot is horrible. There isn't even the typical plaza and/or greenspace that accompinies many of the office buildings out there.

Nevermind what could have been.
 

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I remember hearing that one day Schaumburg will be a mini Chicago. This was back when I was a kid in the late 70's. I guess some people had high hopes for Schaumburg. Too bad it turned out to be your average post WWII suburb of 85,000 people.
 

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Jack-Of-All-Trades
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Thanks, STR. I'm seriously gonna see if I can track down Merrill Foster's Marine Industries, Inc. It might be interesting.

The current site is now part of Fox River Grove, and on it, oddly enough, is a seedy-looking motel that's probably been there at least since oh, say, 1966?
 

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It's definitely above average in many ways considering its population. It's sprawling (which suburbs aren't?) but it has a great deal of wealth generated by a large business community, huge retail, and now even a convention industry.
 

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What'u smokin' Willis?
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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
^My old man is actually heading the convention center and he was blown away by this thing. It's been completely forgotten even by the staff there.

BTW I've posted at SSP this tower and a diagram to go with it. I went for a cross between Aon and the World Trade Center towers in NYC.

_
 

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The article says that that this building, at 1300 ft and a 250ft antenna, would have surpassed the WTC, which wasn't built yet at the time. Were they planning on including the antenna in the height which would make it 1550ft, passing the 1368ft roof of WTC? Or was the design of the WTC changed after this news article?
Is it possible that in 1968, people assumed that antennas would be included in the height?

I would have liked to see this building built in Schaumburg but not if it meant that some of the buildings in downtown Chi wouldn't have been built.

The current development on the site, Woodfield Corporate Center, is a nice developement in its own right.

What I'd like to see are some residental high rises, at least 30 storeys, in that area. Extend the EL train to Elgin. Add an EL line to run along 53 and 355. Get rid of the huge Woodfield mall parking lot, put the parking underground like Millenium Park, and then make a huge park around the mall where the parking lot was and line it with residental high rises. Why not?
 

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What'u smokin' Willis?
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
The WTC was originally listed as 1,300 feet, then 1,350. The 1,350 figure stuck around for some time. Then 1,360 and finally the 1,369/1,362 foot true heights were discolsed long after completetion of the program.
 
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