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(Above) New rendering of the crown of the north tower of 400 Lake Shore, designed by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

22-Jan-24 – With construction financing in place, actual construction has started on 400 Lake Shore, starting with the 72-story north tower that will add 1.1 million square feet of residential space and 4.5 acres of public green space to Streeterville.

Following site preparation in December, construction officially began in early January, according to the developer, Related Midwest, which estimates completion of the north tower in “early 2027.”

Photo by Albert Bartkus

(Left) Drone image captured by Albert Bartkus on January 10 showing Riverview Condominiums at top, Lake Shore Drive at bottom, and a construction site that includes a mostly-drained substructure at right.

Though declining to reveal the estimated cost of the project, Related Midwest has confirmed it has $500 million in financing to build the tower, mostly from tax-exempt bonds issued by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).

The bonds are used to finance the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Illinois. Though clearly being marketed collectively as a luxury residence, Related Midwest says 127 of the 635 units, or 20 percent, will be “affordable,” as defined by the IHDA. To qualify for the financing and a state tax break, the units must be affordable to residents with household incomes between 30 and 50 percent of the Area Median Income.

The first phase of construction will include DuSable Park, a 3.3-acre public park on the east side of Lake Shore Drive. Designed by Ross Barney Architects, it will be accessed from a 19-to-26-foot-wide walkway passing under Lake Shore Drive, and from a planned extension of the Chicago Riverwalk. Related Midwest is contributing $10 million toward the cost of building the park. Another $5.4 million will come from the City of Chicago. The park must be finished before Related Midwest can receive a certificate of occupancy from the city for the north tower.

(Right) Rendering from 2020 that imagines an overhead view of two residential towers at left and DuSable Park at right.

Related Midwest

The project will eventually include two towers, the 875-foot-tall north tower and a 765-foot-tall south tower.

First announced in 2018, the project started with taller towers and a hotel. After meeting with 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, Related Midwest made “significant” changes to the design, according to Reilly, in 2020.

The towers will rise from 34 existing caissons of the Chicago Spire, a failed project introduced to Chicago and the world in 2006 by Irish real estate developer Garrett Kelleher. At 2,000 feet, the twisting design by world-famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava would have been the tallest residential building in North America. Work started on only the foundation and substructure, leaving a hole that is 104 feet in diameter and 78 feet deep.

A $1.21 billion lawsuit filed in February 2018 by Kelleher in United States District Court in Chicago against National Asset Management Agency, a publicly-funded banking agency in Ireland, was settled in October 2019. Kelleher claimed his project was derailed in 2013 by the banking agency, which was suing Kelleher in Ireland over loans unrelated to the Chicago Spire that he had personally guaranteed. The loans were sold for about $35 million to RMW Acquisition Company, doing business as The Related Companies, the Chicago office of which is Related Midwest. Related took full control of the site in 2016.

Previous stories:

Proposed towers at Chicago River & Lake Shore Drive now shorter and all-rental

Settlement of lawsuit over failed Chicago Spire