Chinese real estate firm plans to build new Chicago skyscraper - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Chinese real estate firm plans to build new Chicago skyscraper

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Photo credit: Wanda Group Photo credit: Wanda Group
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A real estate firm in China is planning to invest $900 million to build a new skyscraper in Chicago.

The stunning image a Chinese developer posted of the proposed 89-story tower was enough to excite Chicagoans who've heard that celebrity-architect Jeanne Gang is the one who designed it.

“She's a world-renowned architect. It's in a very prominent location. And it's really going to change the way people, you know, look at the river and live along the river,” said Lynn Osmond of the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

“My first impression is that it's got some ‘Wow!’ to it, which is exactly what Chicago is known for,” added MarySue Barrett of the Metropolitan Planning Council.

Barrett noted that her Metropolitan Planning Council recently honored the foresight of the developers of Lake Shore East, the gigantic planned unit development south of Wacker Drive and east of Lake Shore Drive where the proposed new tower would be built. Once a semi-derelict railroad and steamship freight yard, its transformation began with Illinois Center about 40 years ago.

Lake Shore East's Magellan Developers said it would have no comment on the new project "until the appropriate time." Jeanne Gang's architectural firm did not respond to repeated requests.

Chinese developer Wang Jianlin and his Wanda Group may have a few things to learn about Chicago.

A spokesman indicated City Hall did not know the online announcement was coming. As Wanda Group unveiled the $900 million project on East Wacker Drive, it referred to Chicago as America's second-largest city, a title Los Angeles grabbed in the 1980s. Still, when it comes to Downtowns, Chicago has recently been America's fastest-growing.

“Chicago is one of those places that's really a standout among other cities and regions of having a very healthy residential development downtown. And this just another sign that investors will continue to be confident about putting their dollars,” Barrett said.

While officials said they haven't yet received an application to begin construction on an 89-story tower at this site, given the nature of this planned unit development, they said that it's possible permission could be granted before the end of the year.

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