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Read the press release here.

Ex-Willis Tower Owner Proposes South Loop High-Rise With Star Architect

 Here's a first look at a 25-story luxury high-rise proposed for 1408 S. Wabash Ave.
Proposed tower for 1408 S. Wabash Ave.
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SOUTH LOOP — Lucien Lagrange, the star architect known for designing some of Chicago's priciest towers, now aims to do the same in the South Loop.

American Landmark Properties, the Skokie real estate firm that used to own the Willis Tower, has tapped Lagrange to design the 25-story luxury high-rise it wants to build at 1408 S. Wabash Ave. The project would be the first in the neighborhood for Lagrange, a French national who designed the Waldorf Astoria, Park Tower and Lincoln Park 2550, among other buildings.

"His buildings start beautiful, function beautiful and stay beautiful," said Al Gluck, American Landmark's president.

The proposed tower would contain 292 luxury apartments, a bit of street retail, and 80 interior parking spaces. Though its reminiscent of some of Lagrange's other projects, the Wabash tower is actually inspired by vintage buildings south of Madison Street including the Blackstone Hotel and Merle Reskin Theatre.

"We like to stand out by blending in," said Geoffrey Bird, a senior designer at Lagrange's firm.

If approved, the tower would be the latest high-profile addition to the rapidly changing South Loop. Developers have rushed into the area seeking Chicagoans priced out of more established Downtown neighborhoods, but some who attended Thursday's presentation were worried the flurry of high-end development could push them out of the South Loop too.

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Between the surge of new million-dollar condominiums and small apartments, "it's clear families are not welcome in this neighborhood," one man said. The 1408 S. Wabash tower would include 118 studio apartments, 103 one-bedroom units, and 71 two-bedroom homes. Gluck did not disclose how much rent would be.

The developer's presentation was hosted by Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), whose ward includes the project site. The tower would require approvals from both the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council because of its size.

Cook County property records show the development site, a parking lot, is owned by a venture led by West Ridge investor Jay Meystel, who could not be reached late Thursday.

American Landmark sold the Willis Tower for more than $1 billion last year. 

Check out the slideshow above or the renderings below for a first look at the proposed tower:

[All renderings by Lucien Lagrange Architects]

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