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After spruce-up, Streeterville tower gets planners’ OK

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) persuaded developer 42-story apartment tower 500 N. Lake Shore Drive turn part one wall 10-story

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) persuaded the developer of a 42-story apartment tower at 500 N. Lake Shore Drive to turn part of one wall of a 10-story parking deck “green.” It is supposed to have vegetation that will survive winters.

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Updated: August 3, 2011 10:39PM



City planners Thursday approved a new 45-story apartment tower along Lake Shore Drive downtown after its design was modified under aldermanic pressure.

Some residents in Streeterville thought earlier versions of the building proposed for 500 N. Lake Shore Drive were too plain and boxy for a site that’s part of postcard Chicago.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) persuaded the developer to turn part of one wall of a 10-story parking deck “green.” It is supposed to have vegetation that will survive winters.

“This green element is going to distinguish this property as the first in Chicago to have a year-round green wall,” Reilly said. “The technology, I’m told, works. That is something I’m really excited about.”

The project was hatched by Related Midwest, one of Chicago’s leading builders of high-rises. The plan calls for a building with 500 apartments and parking for 415 vehicles.

The site is between Grand and Illinois and currently used as a surface parking lot.

The Chicago Plan Commission endorsed the building on a recommendation from city officials.

Gail Spreen, who chairs the real estate review panel for the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, said the building got only a “qualified” endorsement from her organization.

She said SOAR will monitor the developer to ensure that it keeps its commitments on the green wall. She said a similar promise involving a tower at 600 N. Lake Shore Drive turned into a wall with just a few meager vines.

Solomon Cordwell Buenz is the architectural firm that designed the building.

Related Midwest’s president, Curt Bailey, declined to comment on the project. Developers have been eager to push apartment construction because demand is seen to be high.

Reilly said he expects units to rent for about $2,100 to $2,600 a month.



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