Next in our “Dead by Design” series of cancelled Chicago supertowers, we have a 112-story tower originally planned for 7 S Dearborn Avenue in The Loop. The mixed-use skyscraper would have measured 1,567 feet to its roof, marking what would have been its official height. However, the structure would have also been accompanied by three 433-foot-tall antennas that would have brought its pinnacle height to 2,000 feet, just one foot higher than last week’s Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle.
One of Chicago’s tallest and most notorious cancelled developments is the 125-story Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle, the first in this series to surpass the Willis (Sears) Tower in height. Proposed in 1988 by Lee Miglin and J. Paul Beitler, this superstructure would have risen 1,999 feet at 201 W Madison Street in The Loop. If construction proceeded as planned up until its targeted 1993 completion, the tower would have reigned as world’s tallest building for 17 years leading up to the completion of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2010. It is worth noting however that building’s sheer influence would very likely have altered the race to the top, creating what may have been a very different set of subsequent mega-towers around the world.
This week, the “Dead by Design” series of cancelled Chicago towers will focus its spotlight on One North Wacker Drive, an 83-story office tower in The Loop. In 1989, real estate developer Harvey Walken first proposed the 1,276-foot edifice, which at the time would have made it fourth tallest in the world behind only the Sears (now Willis) Tower and New York’s twin towers.
Much of the exterior scaffolding has now been removed from the 24-story Old Republic Building in The Loop, revealing the extensive nature of its facade restoration. The 325-foot-tall Classic Revival office tower at 307 N Michigan Avenue was originally planned by the Bell and Zoller Coal Company and designed by Vitzthum & Burns.
Chicago’s formative architectural history is not always visible if one were to walk around. Much like the city’s dozens of demolished high rises (more on that later), the never-built can also influence the realm of architecture despite lacking a physical presence. That is why every Sunday leading up to Halloween, YIMBY will cover a cancelled tower of increasing height, what lead to its demise, and what it might have looked like on the skyline. The model screenshots will retain previous weeks’ towers, though they will not be carried over to standard posts.