Preliminary site work can be seen moving ahead for Aon Center‘s plaza renovation, situated at 200 E Randolph Street in New Eastside. The development will serve as revitalized public space and entryway to the 1,136-foot-tall Aon Center, which was originally designed by Edward Durell Stone and The Perkins and Will partnership and completed in 1974. Aon Center’s owner 601W Companies is overseeing the transformation, expected to cost roughly $6.5 million to complete.
The original half-acre plaza space at southern end of the property housed a large fountain, a tiled open area, and white metal fencing around the perimeter. The new design by HGA will incorporate open grass space, various gardens, soft seating, fire pits, an outdoor bar, and accessible ramps.
Given the site’s central location, tenants and visitors have access to a multitude of nearby buses, including Routes 4, 6, 20, and 6o at the adjacent intersections of Randolph & Stetson and Randolph & Columbus. Within a five-minute walk are various other options, including Routes 3, 26, 66, 124, 143, 147, 151, and 157 to the west and Routes 134, 135, and 136 to the north. Those wishing to board the CTA L will find all lines within a 10-minute walk west toward the Loop.
The revamped plaza will be just one of many nearby outdoor venues, such as Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park across Randolph Street, while other spaces such as Lake Shore East Park, the Lakefront, and the Riverwalk can all be accessed within a roughly 10-minute walk.
BEAR Construction is the project’s general contractor, with construction expected to wrap up by late summer of 2021. Around this time, work is expected to begin on a new Solomon Cordwell Buenz-designed Aon Center observation deck, which will include a glass elevator and thrill ride. A timeline for this next phase has not been revealed.
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The design of the garden still looks incredibly amateurish……is it the colors or the design?
The design does not look worthy of the front yard of a 1,000 ft high major skyscraper facing the great lawn of the city.
Chicago doesn’t do plazas well. New York, Paris and London are leagues ahead with respect to designing public/open space. BMO’s raised park is another shining example of the city’s failures in this arena.