Another day, another new plan has been proposed for Chicago’s infamous Chicago Spire site, located just off Lake Shore Drive near Navy Pier. This time, architectural firm Gensler has drawn up a pretty impressive plan that fully takes advantage of the premium lakefront location, which is what seems to be raising eyebrows the most.
The concept is called Gateway Tower and not only is it a mega-tall high-rise that would re-define Chicago’s already spectacular skyline, but it would also add yet another highly-visited tourist attraction to downtown Chicago’s well-documented list of things to do when in town.
Unlike the original Spire design, which included condominium residences only, the focus of Gateway Tower would actually be more the building’s versatility, which would include both hotel space and a state-of-the-art new sky deck that would no doubt offer some of the most unique and breathtaking views of the city and lake of any high-rise in the city. Along with that, Gateway Tower would also engage the underused DuSable Park on the opposite side of Lake Shore Drive by directly connecting the building to the park via a stilt-like addition that would transport people across Lake Shore Drive over to the park space below.
According to a study done by Gensler, the observatory atop New York’s famous Empire State Building actually brings in more revenue than all of its commercial tenants combined, which is exactly the model Gateway Tower would follow should the project come to fruition. The AON Center over in the New Eastside, which currently acts as the Windy City’s third tallest building, is also considering adding an observatory because of this kind of revenue potential, so at the very least the idea is certainly rather intriguing.
As of now, Gensler’s Gateway Tower is nothing more than a conceptual study, however, the international firm certainly has experience in designing actual mega-tall high-rises, with perhaps its signature project being the Shanghai Tower, which stands 2,073 feet tall.
The Spire site at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive is still controlled by Related Midwest, which acquired the property back in 2015.