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  • August 5th, 2013
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As Seen In RE Journals

The O’Donnell Investment Company has announced plans to develop a 1.2 million-square-foot office tower, located at 150 N. Riverside Plaza, in the heart of the West Loop submarket.   The development site is bounded by Randolph and Lake streets at the confluence of the three branches of the Chicago River.

The development plans were unveiled July 31 at a community meeting hosted by 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly.  These plans reflected designs refined over 18 months of meetings between the development team, Reilly and City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development.

The 53-story office tower will be located along the river on the eastern edge of the 2-acre site.  This results in a 122-foot distance from the tower to the adjacent Randolph Place residential building, a setback equal to the width of Wacker Drive or Michigan Avenue at Oak Street.  Additionally, as a result of its superstructure design, the building footprint will comprise less than 25 percent of the total site area, with the remaining 75 percent reserved for a public park, riverside amphitheater and riverwalk.

The project is being designed by a team led by Chicago-based architecture firm Goettsch Partners, in conjunction with structural engineering firm Magnusson Klemencic Associates, who has U.S. offices in Chicago and Seattle.

“Our goal was to design a building which responds to the prominence of the site, creates a sense of place with the variety and quality of public spaces, and contributes to the beautification of the City,” said James Goettsch, chairman and CEO of Goettsch Partners.

Design features include a façade with a rippled texture, created by the undulating fins affixed at each exterior vertical mullion of the unitized curtainwall system.  In addition, the lobby is a dramatic space with a ceiling height of more than 100 feet to its peak, surrounded by a non-reflective cablewall system, minimizing the distinction between indoor and outdoor space.  The superstructure design tapers to a central core element supporting the office tower above.

“This site has been vacant for over 50 years owing to the limitations imposed by proximity to an active commuter rail yard, as well as the river”, said John O’Donnell, principal of O’Donnell Investment Company.  “Goettsch Partners and MKA have developed a solution which we believe responds both functionally and beautifully to these site constraints.  The result is a nuanced example of form following function.”

The tower will be constructed using sustainable design principles, with the objective of minimizing energy consumption while maximizing light and air, open space and the overall quality of the tenant work environment.  In addition to the plaza-level open space, the tower features 100 percent green roof coverage and will be a minimum of LEED-Silver certification.

Numerous city infrastructure improvements have been incorporated into the planning, including over an acre of public park space, reconstruction of the site’s riverwall, upgraded traffic and pedestrian signals at several intersections surrounding the building, and the connection of the Riverside Plaza riverwalk, which extends north from Van Buren Street but currently terminates at Randolph Street.  The public park and plaza areas include a number of different seating and assembly zones, along with overlook points for enjoyment of the river, and feature 24/7 security, public restrooms and access to a range of onsite food and beverage options.

The development is intended to respond to Chicago’s demand for highly efficient and technology-enabled “Class A+” office space, which currently comprises less than 10 percent of the overall Chicago office market.

“Today’s tenants are seeking office space which is adaptive to their changes in use, which responds to an ever-strengthening trend towards less square footage per employee, and which delivers best-in-class technology and floorplate efficiencies,”  O’Donnell said. “We saw an opportunity to develop one of the most prominent sites in Chicago, and hopefully make a lasting contribution to the city, both functionally and aesthetically.”

Developers expect to break ground on the project in 2014.

Originally published on RE Journals

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