Forget condos. Skyscraper designed by Helmut Jahn gets approval for 738 apartments. – Chicago Tribune

Helmut Jahn’s tallest building in Chicago could soon resume construction after a series of setbacks stalled the South Michigan Avenue project, including the famed architect’s death in a bicycle accident in May.

Revised plans for the 1,000m residential tower were approved by the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday.

If approved by city council soon, as planned, construction on the 73-story project could restart as early as this fall, developers say. Work on the building was stopped more than a year ago.

At the latest, construction is expected to resume next spring, Time Equities Chairman and CEO Francis Greenburger said in an emailed statement. The statement did not provide details on the funding.

The requested zoning change would allow Time Equities, JK Equities and Oak Capitals to move the building from 1000 S. Michigan Ave. to apartments, condominiums.

“The pandemic period has been difficult for everyone,” Greenburger said in the statement. “We have faced these challenges and changing market conditions by responsibly adjusting our development plan to achieve the best end result.”

Changes would include reducing the height of the building to 73 stories and 805 feet tall. This is a one-story, 27-foot reduction from the previous plan. The new plan would allow for up to 738 apartments, an increase of 217 units over the condo design.

“Market experts have told us that comparable luxury properties like 1000M are in high demand and are renting quickly,” Greenburger said in the statement.

The ambitious plan had been in the works for years when construction began in late 2019. At the time, it was the largest condo project by number of units to break ground in Chicago since the Great Recession.

In early 2020, with only part of the foundation built, work was halted due to what developers described as safety concerns related to the public health crisis.

Last July, the developers told the Tribune that construction had been halted indefinitely because their construction lender, Goldman Sachs, had stopped financing the $470 million project due to concerns over the real estate market.

Late last year, the focus of developers shifted to apartments, which are easier to finance because they do not require prior financial commitments from residents.

As the 1000M plan shifted to apartments, the skyscraper’s designer – Germany’s Jahn, who rose to international fame as a Chicago-based architect – died in May after being hit by several cars while he was cycling in the western suburbs. He was 81 years old.

Immediately after Jahn’s death, the 1000M developers vowed to complete the tower near the south end of Grant Park.

The restarted 1000M would create more than 2,300 construction jobs and 26 full-time jobs, according to city documents on the project.

The developers would create 23 affordable housing units in the tower, contribute $828,000 to the city’s affordable housing fund and contribute approximately $407,000 to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

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