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Vista, Chicago's Future 3rd Tallest Tower, To Break Ground Next Week

By David Matthews | September 1, 2016 5:29pm
 Check out new renderings of the proposed 93-story Wanda Vista Tower unveiled last week.
New renderings for proposed Wanda Vista tower.
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CHICAGO — Vista, the future third-tallest building in Chicago and the tallest in the world designed by a woman, will formally break ground next week.

Construction of the 93-story tower planned for Wacker Drive will formally begin Sept. 7, a spokesman for Vista developer Magellan Development Group said. The ceremonial groundbreaking date is set to be announced Friday. 

Vista, a $950 million tower designed by star Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, is a venture between Magellan and Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group. Once built, the frustum-shaped tower will contain a hotel as well as 406 luxury condominiums starting at roughly $1 million.

Construction crews have already been preparing the development site at 381 E. Wacker Drive for weeks in advance of the formal groundbreaking

At 1,144 feet, Vista would be the third-tallest building in Chicago, trailing just Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel & Tower. Developers told neighbors last year the high-profile project will create 420 permanent jobs and deliver $19 million in new annual property tax revenue.

Gang, a MacArthur fellow who designed the award-winning Aqua tower near the proposed Wanda site, said the project is inspired by the frustum shape seen in ice cubes or Toblerone chocolate.

Together, the three frustums will create eight corners at street level, but the tallest part of the building will be the skinniest among its super tall peers in Chicago. Gang said the thinness of the tower will enhance exposure to natural light and cast less shade below. 

"Tall buildings, oftentimes, they're just a reflecting box and singular," Gang told neighbors last year. "Here, we're trying to work with texture at various scales so that from a human standpoint, you can see this variation."

Work will last from roughly 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day during the massive construction project, which will bring various road closures and other traffic impacts over the next few years. 

Neighbors access to the Chicago Riverwalk through Lower Field Boulevard will be closed beginning next month, and other thoroughfares including Wacker and Waterside drives will be impacted, too. 

The tower is scheduled to open in 2020.

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