I Still love Aqua. I always will. But this building is fascinating to watch under construction. If you see her, tell her I’m sorry. (She won’t return my calls.) I’ll be back, but for now, I can’t walk away. Not all the way over to the New East Side, anyway.
I didn’t know anything about architecture and construction when I used to walk across the Lake Street bridge on a daily basis. I’d look down along the west river bank and wonder what the small oil derrick was doing in the lot next to the water. Soil sampling, I would find out later. Which would soon lead to some serious earth moving, and ultimately graduating to full-fledged major construction. And I would become obsessed.
150 North Riverside in Chicago is not your average skyscraper project. Maybe there wasn’t much fanfare getting things started; again, I didn’t know much about this city’s new buildings. This particular development got a huge shot the arm — and a hole in the hull — when crews loading mud and silt into a barge broke it in half and sunk it. Suddenly every media outlet in town headed to the Chicago River to see the latest saga in what had become a very bad year for Chicago barges. Citizens congregated on the Randolph and Lake Street bridges, discussing what had gone wrong and the best ways to mend the situation. And 150 North Riverside was officially on the map.
What happened next would be engineering magic. The muddy hole that additional, healthier barges hauled away gave way to steel and concrete and wood and cranes. Even cranes on barges. That didn’t sink. And the Clark Construction site that fascinated me because of a nautical mishap soon grabbed hold of my attention for a much more positive reason: that upside-down triangle of iron. That will soon support dozens of floors above. I haven’t taken photos of progress at 150 North Riverside every day, but I’ve come close to it. And I know this will one day be an amazing structure to behold. But right now, in its present state, I kinda wish it would stay unfinished for awhile. Like a child you’re not yet prepared to see grow up.
There’s still a long way to go for 150 North Riverside. The 1.2-million-square-foot, 53-story office tower, designed by Chicago firm Goettsch Partners, is expected to open in November of 2016, and already lists Hyatt Hotels and investment firm William Blair as future tenants. In the mean time, check out the website for more details and renderings. (Be sure to watch the video; this building and grounds will be spectacular.)