ULI Chicago News

A Tale of Two Uses: ULI Chicago Young Leaders Tour the Loews Tower

On Wednesday, October 8th, thirty-five young leaders were given the opportunity to tour the currently under construction Loews Tower in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. The 50-story tower is located at 455 North Park Drive and will be home to 398 luxury residential units, a 400-key hotel, parking, and street level retail and dining. This project is part of a larger planned development focused on revitalizing the neighborhood and connecting Chicago’s riverfront and lakefront to Michigan Avenue.

Upon arrival to the site, hard hats and neon construction vests were distributed before the design team from Solomon Cordwell Buenz walked the group through the 35-story residential tower that sits on top of the “L” shaped hotel. Residential common areas were strategically placed on floors 50 and 15, providing terraces with great views of the Chicago skyline, and top of the line amenities. During the planning stages, discussions took place on whether or not the hotel and residential common areas would be separate or shared. In the end, it was determined that the amenities on these floors will be exclusive to residents, but the hotel amenities will be available to hotel guests and residents. Hotel amenities on the third floor are expected to include an outdoor bar/café, pool, fitness club, and a landscaped roof garden.

Following the tour, a brief overview of the development process, completion timeline, and project challenges were discussed by John Lahey & Gary Kohn of SCB, and Jeremy Kerman of Convexity Properties. Design planning started on the $300 million project in December 2011, with construction commencing one year later. Currently, the hotel is expected to be turned over to Loews in January 2015, and will open for business a month or two later. The residential tower is slated to be finished in March of next year, and apartments ranging from studios to three bedrooms are expected to lease-up to stabilization within 12-14 months. Unique design challenges were faced along the way due to the sloping/elevated streetscape of the site. Because of these elevation differences, the design team was able to provide a separate entrance for the residential units, and strategically placed the hotel lobby, dining, and retail spaces on the ground level where it will be easily accessible from the neighborhood. The hotel entrance will be built with stone and other high quality materials, in hopes that the hotel will be able to “have a dialogue with the surrounding areas”, and will entice people to stop in regularly for dinner and drinks. A high profile restaurant, that is yet to be announced, will be located right inside the hotel lobby for easy access from the neighborhood.

This event provided an interesting perspective into the design challenges of a mixed-use development, as well as a first glance into great views and amenities that will be available for residents of the Loews Tower in 2015!

Authored by Kari Onweller, Ventas, Inc.
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