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Proposed Holy Name Tower Would Become Sixth Tallest Skyscraper in Chicago

A developer has announced its intention to turn the parking lot across from Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago’s River North into a huge mixed-use complex consisting of two very tall skyscrapers.

The taller tower is projected to be 1,011 feet, making it the sixth tallest skyscraper in the city if plans go through. 

The development, named One Chicago Square, would take up most of a city block and consist of offices, an event space, a grocery store, health club, and 850 apartments. 

Jim Letchinger, a representative of JDL Development, said that the Holy Name skyscraper’s tall and slender profile will open up a lot of air and light.  

Most of the 900 parking spots would be located below level with over 200 reserved for church parishioners. Approximately 50% of the project’s ground floor will be reserved for drop-offs, loading, and ramps for off-street parking. Level two will contain an organic grocery store while storeys three through seven will have residential units and retail parking. Floors eight through nine will be occupied by a spa facility and fitness gym whose members will have access to a landscaped pool deck. 

An open-air promenade and elevated event space is proposed for positioning directly across the street from Holy Name Cathedral, with the intention of attracting business from church functions such as weddings. The tallest Holy Name skyscraper is also set back from State Street to create space between it and the cathedral as well as create a public plaza for those who live, work, and shop in the area. 

Bigger sites typically produce bigger developments, and One Chicago Square is expected to make a significant impact on both the River North urban environment and the Chicago skyline. Despite being rather large, the development’s base will be dedicated to active use and will be constructed from genuine stone instead of precast concrete.  

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The design, conceived by Goettsch Partners and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA), turns more elegant and airy the higher it rises, with a particular emphasis on verticality thanks to a glassy exterior complimented by aluminium fins. The slender appearance is reinforced by a series of spiralling shapes on the taller Holy Name skyscraper. 

In addition to providing amenities to the surrounding neighbourhood, One Chicago Square’s largest public benefit is adding a property that is currently exempt to the city’s tax rolls. JDL Development,has confirmed that the project will contribute over $8 million each year. It is also expected to create 400 permanent jobs as well as thousands of temporary construction assignments. 

The JDL team said it is working with the alderman’s office and CDOT to review the possibility of removing on-street parking on nearby streets to make more traffic lanes available. Part of JDL’s contribution into Chicago’s density bonus system will be used to improve traffic on Chicago Avenue. 

One Chicago Square will comply with the Affordable Requirement Ordinance by contributing $7.7 million to Chicago’s affordable housing fund and making 44 units available at affordable rates. 

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