Alderman Reilly “directs” redesign of 500 Lake Shore Drive

500 Lake Shore Dr rendering, Chicago IL

In a better world a local pol would not have the power – or the arrogance – to dictate aspects of the design of a high-rise building. In the world of Chicago, an alderman has the ability to harass, delay and punish developers who have the temerity to stand on their rights.

From Alderman Brendan Reilly’s latest 42nd Ward newsletter:

Dear Neighbor,

I have recently contacted the Department of Housing and Economic Development and requested they defer the 500 North Lake Shore Drive item from the upcoming May 19th Plan Commission Meeting Agenda.

Although we have successfully addressed community concerns related to congestion and density – I am disappointed it has taken more time to resolve legitimate concerns related to the aesthetics of the parking base which will sit in a very visible, high profile location just a few feet from Lake Shore Drive.
During the community meeting I hosted to review this “as-of-right” project, I listened very carefully to concerns regarding the design of the parking base. Although the Planned Development and zoning rights were approved years ago for this project by my predecessor and this project is pending a simple Lakefront Protection approval – I have been working hard to negotiate a more sensitive design of the parking structure.

Because I know Streeterville residents are deeply committed to sustainability and the continued “greening” of the neighborhood – I directed the architect and development team to incorporate creative “green elements” into the design of the base. To address concerns related to the eastern elevation of the proposed structure (facing Lake Shore Drive), I insisted that roughly one-third of that elevation be furnished with an all-season green wall (that survives 12 months a year) and complemented by planted mature trees.

The addition of this unique “green” design element would make 500 N Lake Shore Drive the first building in Chicago featuring a year-round exterior green wall – which would attract recognition for Streeterville’s deep commitment to environmental sustainability and local “green” initiatives. I believe this design change poses a win-win for neighbors.

An additional rendering (pdf) can be found at the 42nd Ward Web.

The residents of Related Midwest‘s 500 N Lake Shore Drive high-rise will doubtless enjoy paying to indulge their neighbors’ green-preen and their Alderman’s whims.

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