ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Structural engineers put on a show on Wacker Drive

by Joe Zekas on 5/8/13

The apartment tower that’s under construction in the Loop at 111 W Wacker was originally slated to host a hotel and condominiums and to soar to more than 1,000 feet in height. Had Waterview Tower been completed as planned, it would have become Chicago’s seventh supertall.

Waterview Tower began construction in 2006 and stalled out in 2008, resulting in a 28-story zombie building mired in litigation. Related Midwest acquired the site in 2011 and began completing the project late last year as a 60-story, 504-unit apartment tower.

If you’ve been following the progress of construction you’ll have noted the unusual cantilevered base for the new tower crane on Wacker Drive. It was the first visible sign of the structural engineering tour de force that’s underway at the site.

The reconfigured building will have a smaller floor plate above the originally completed portion, and different column placements. That required construction of the recently-completed, 5-foot thick transfer slab pictured above. Compare it with the typical 8-inch thick slabs on the lower floors of the building.

You can see more pictures of the transfer floor, and some discussion of the engineering involved, on this page and this one at SkyscraperPage.

We’ve outlined all of the new apartment projects proposed or underway in downtown Chicago on an at-a-glance list.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

CaptainVideo May 8, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to continue to use the original design with column placements that match the floors below and simply not go as high as originally planned?


Joe Zekas May 8, 2013 at 9:57 AM


One has to believe that was considered – but a luxury condo / hotel tower and rental apartments have very different requirements.


CaptainVideo May 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM

But while these will be rental apartments FOR NOW, given market conditions, will these apartments not eventually be converted to condos once the condo market has recovered? If so, wouldn’t it have been wiser to think ahead and build the luxory condos as planned and simply rent them until the condo market has recovered.?


CaptainVideo May 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM

And if they had stuck with the original design, they could later, after market conditions had fully recovered, have added the additional floors on to bring it to the planned height. A little more foresight and planning ahead could have produced superior results.


Joe Zekas May 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

You’re second-guessing one of the nation’s more sophisticated developers. From a background of what knowledge and experience?


CaptainVideo May 11, 2013 at 6:35 AM

My argurments and questions stand and fall on their own merits, not on any claim of credetials. So what is wrong with the points I have raised?

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