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3 Soaring Towers Proposed For Wolf Point

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A development composed of three soaring towers has been proposed for the north bank of Wolf Point, one of the city’s most historically important sites.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports the proposed development by the Kennedy family and partner Hines Interests LP would develop the prime spot at the confluence of the north, south and main branches of the Chicago River, just south of the 350 Mart Center where the Chicago Sun-Times’ offices are located.

Currently, the space is used as a surface parking lot.

The project calls for a 525-foot tower with about 500 apartments at the west end of the site, a 950-foot tower at the southern tip, and a 750-foot tower on the west end of the site near Orleans Street, Crain’s reported. The second and third towers would likely be used for office space, Crain’s reported.

If built, the 950-foot tower would be the eighth tallest in Chicago.

While zoning for the property dating from 1973 would permit the development, there is opposition from a neighborhood group, Friends of Wolf Point. The city has required an amendment to the zoning code calling for public review and approval by the Chicago Plan Commission, Crain’s reported.

The developers said the three towers would be tall, but skinny, covering only 22 percent of the property, leaving the rest of the site open for landscaping, Crain’s reported.

But Friends of Wolf Point and other neighbors complained that the stream of new residents and office workers would add to congestion on Kinzie Street. Besides that, Crain’s reported, the towers would block the breathtaking views down the main branch of the Chicago River from residential buildings on the west side of the river, such as the 149-unit Residences at RiverBend condo tower at 333 N. Canal St.

One member of Friends of Wolf Point asked that as much of the site be left for green space as possible, Crain’s reported.

Wolf Point figures prominently in Chicago history. Some of the earliest taverns built taverns at and around the site – including James Kinzie, the son of early Chicago settler on Kinzie. In 1831, early settler Mark Beaubien opened Chicago’s first hotel, the Sauganash Hotel, on the south bank across the Main Branch of the River.

The Kennedy family has owned the north bank of Wolf Point since the 1940s, since they purchased the Merchandise Mart. Before that, the Marshall Field family owned the site.

The Kennedys sold the Mart in 1998, but the family has retained Wolf Point, Crain’s reported.