Marathon pour launches construction at 400 Lake Shore

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

Construction has started on the foundation for a skyscraper at 400 Lake Shore, with 470,000 gallons of concrete being poured into the old Spire hole last week with a 12-hour-long parade of trucks, 76-foot-deep foundation hole, according to developer Related Midwest.Phase one of the development will create 1.1 million residential gross square feet and 4.5 acres of public green space with a 72-story residential tower that will reshape Chicago’s skyline where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan.

The project will mix luxury and affordable housing options and includes construction of the long-awaited DuSable Park and completion of the Founder’s Way path on the famed Chicago Riverwalk to create a pedestrian path to the lake.

The site has been vacant since a plan to build the Chicago Spire skyscraper was abandoned nearly two decades ago.

Phase One will be co-built by LR Contracting, Related Midwest’s in-house contracting company, and long-time partner BOWA Construction. BOWA became the first minority-owned general contractor to co-build a high-rise building in Chicago through its work on another Related Midwest development—The Row Fulton Market.

“400 Lake Shore is the latest collaboration in the long partnership between Related Midwest, LR Contracting and BOWA Construction,” said Don Biernacki, Executive Vice President of Construction at Related Midwest and President of LR Contracting Company. “The diversity of collaborators on this project represents the strength and diversity of our city, and we’re looking forward to welcoming all Chicagoans to the beautiful public amenities that come along with it.”

“BOWA has a long history of partnering with Related Midwest and LR Contracting, and we’re honored to be a part of the team behind the transformative 400 Lake Shore towers,” said Nosa Ehimwenman, CEO of BOWA Construction.

With a projected completion date of early 2027, Phase One will consist of constructing the site’s 858-foot-tall North Tower. 400 Lake Shore will be the fifth project in Chicago under the Related Rentals brand, synonymous across the country with luxury high-rise living and thoughtful services and benefits.

“We are proud to begin construction at 400 Lake Shore and deliver Chicago a new, transformative project to be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest. “Located on the last waterfront site where Lake Michigan meets the Chicago River, this development is anchored by two towers surrounded by public green space that will complete Founder’s Way on the River and DuSable Park, as well as provide much needed affordable housing.”

The towers, designed by the Chicago Office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) with David Childs—-the architect behind One World Trade Center in New York City—feature thoughtful nods to Chicago architectural history and geography. This includes reimagining the iconic “Chicago Window”—a bay window design that is a hallmark of the city’s historic architecture—as a shallow bay of floor-to-ceiling glass.

The towers taper down in plan to frame a view of the lake while angling back towards the cityscape—with metal detailing evoking the rippling surface of Lake Michigan. Building interiors have been designed by MAWD, whose work includes Related’s The Row Fulton Market, a precedent setting residential high rise recently completed. Local firm Stantec served as the Architect of Record for this project.

Related Midwest will partner with the Chicago Park District to bring DuSable Park to life—-a project first imagined by former Mayor Harold Washington. The 3.3-acre site, once home to Chicago’s founder Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, will be open to the public through Founders Way—a planned extension of the Chicago Riverwalk. In total, 400 Lake Shore will feature 4.5 acres of public land, including a plaza between the towers with amenities, a two-story podium and public art.

“The vision for 400 Lake Shore combines our expertise building multifamily towers in Chicago with the design prowess of dozens of professionals for a thoughtful solution that will benefit the entire City,” said Ann Thompson, Executive Vice President of Architecture and Design at Related Midwest. “As the birthplace of the skyscraper, Chicago deserves a development that is rooted in history but also forward thinking and we are thrilled to partner with the Chicago Office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to bring a new design to the iconic skyline.”

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