(Above) Christopher Kennedy, representing the family that owns the land, cuts the ribbon to officially open Wolf Point West on Wednesday. At left is Mike Stotz, president of AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation. At right is Michael Carrigan, president of Illinois AFL-CIO. (Photos by Steven Dahlman except where noted. Click on images to view larger versions.)
15-Jun-16 One down, two to go. Christopher Kennedy, chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc., and grandson of the Kennedy family patriarch, cut a ribbon on Wednesday to officially open Wolf Point West, a $160 million, 48-story, 509-unit luxury rental property on arguably the most historic spot in Chicago.
Wolf Point is no ordinary building, said Kennedy. From its Chicago location to its [Pelli Clarke Pelli] master plan to its bKL Architecture construction to its final finishes, there is in every aspect of Wolf Point a sense of pride and a declaration that this building is like no other in any place in the city or any place in the country.
(Left) Wolf Point West from across Chicago River on May 24. Holiday Inn Mart Plaza at right.
Kennedy says Wolf Point West, built on 3.85 acres of land his family has owned since the 1940s, represents no less than the fulfillment of the American dream and the hopes of generation after generation that our country can be unique in the world.
|Wolf point, says Kennedy (right), was built by the people who own it. Not just the Kennedys and the Hineses but more broadly. Its owned by the people who poured the cement like Paul Mallon. Its owned by the guys who ran the hoists like Ramon Ulloa. Its owned by people like Diana Bridges, who kept everyone safe on the job, including me.
The building, designed by Chicagos bKL Architecture and developed by Houston-based Hines, has been open since January and is nearly 50 percent occupied, according to Michael Carrigan, president of Illinois AFL-CIO. The federation of labor unions has a $34 million stake in the project.
||This project is about pension dollars, retirement dollars, coming together, putting union people to work, and then it becomes an asset of this great city, said Carrigan (left).
42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly was scheduled to appear at the ribbon cutting event but, tied up in a Finance Committee meeting, cancelled on Wednesday morning.
Eventually, the project will include a 950-foot south tower and a 750-foot east tower that will both contain a mix of office, retail, and residential space. Developers will have to take the project one tower at a time, with new traffic studies and additional trips to the Chicago Plan Commission.
Controversy slowed project start
The project got off the ground despite disapproval from nearby neighborhood and homeowner associations. The most vocal critics were unit owners at The Residences at Riverbend Condominium Association, whose dramatic views east down the main branch of the Chicago River will be interrupted by Wolf Point West and two more towers planned for Wolf Point.
On May 30, 2013, a group led by four residents sued the City of Chicago to stop development of Wolf Point, claiming they were denied adequate opportunity to present their opposition to the plan. Richard Kessler and Joseph Jacobi of McDonald Hopkins LLC said the city, in approving the zoning amendment that allows the project, ignored the requirements of its own zoning ordinance, the 2009 master plan for the Downtown Central Area, design standards and guidelines for building structures adjacent to the Chicago River, and a 2012 nature conservation plan.
But on November 19, 2013, saying the amended planned development does not deprive anyone of constitutionally protected property interest, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the lawsuit. In her analysis, Judge Amy J. St. Eve pointed out that the Riverbend condo owners do not own property on Wolf Point, just adjacent to it.
|(Right) Christopher Kennedy speaks at a ribbon cutting event at Wolf Point West on Wednesday.
Luxury amenities for people and pets
The property was ready for its first residents on January 11. A mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units are being leased by Magellan Property Management LLC.
Photo by Marcin Cymmer.
Amenities include outdoor pool, hot tub, and sundeck directly adjacent to the Chicago River, state-of-the-art fitness center with private training rooms and golf simulator, 46th floor Sky Lounge (above), and an indoor/outdoor pet lounge with grooming table, dog wash, and veterinarian.
A 400-foot walkway along the Chicago River is accessible to the public.