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Rejected! River North's Tallest Planned Tower Since Trump's Gets Blocked

By David Matthews | April 10, 2017 7:25am | Updated on April 12, 2017 11:33am
 Slides from Monday's presentation of a new 60-story tower proposed for River North. The Carillon at Wabash and Superior would be the tallest tower built since the recession in the neighborhood. 
The Carillon
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RIVER NORTH — A 60-story tower proposed for River North won't be moving forward, the neighborhood's alderman says.

The Carillon tower proposed for the northeast corner of Superior Street and Wabash Avenue would have been the tallest tower built in nearly a decade in the neighborhood. But many neighbors and now Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) believe it would muck up too much traffic Downtown following a contentious community presentation last month.

Led by New York-based Symmetry Property Development, the 725-foot-tall Carillon designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill would include 246 condos, 216 hotel rooms, 120 timeshare units, indoor parking and three floors of retail at 739 N. Wabash Ave.

"Valid" concerns aired by neighbors about the tower's unit mix and their impact on traffic led Reilly to reject the project, he wrote in an email to constituents Friday.

"This combination of uses suggests heavy volumes of deliveries, curbside pick-up/drop-off, special event traffic and buses," Reilly wrote. "It's simply too much for this block."

Reilly voiced his views less than a month after a community presentation attended of hundreds of neighbors. Many expressed skepticism then, and Reilly said his office has received "significant negative feedback" on the proposed tower since.

Reilly said the taxis, limousines and other cars the hotel/condo tower would attract would further congest an already slow-moving stretch of Superior Street. The developer's plan for loading and parking in an alley on the north end of the site "simply will not work," Reilly wrote.

Other developers have tried and failed for years to develop the site — a collection of low-slung vintage buildings next to a Giordano's restaurant — because neighbors have aired similar concerns before. At one time the Carillon site was two separate lots two different developers wanted to build on before Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) convinced them to work out a deal.

The Carillon site lies about two block away from the Holy Name Cathedral parking lot, where another developer plans another high-rise development.

Symmetry needed City Council approval for the Carillon because of the project's size. The council has a long tradition of not approving real estate developments unless they're supported by their neighborhood alderman.

Reilly said he read The Carillon's traffic study "cover-to-cover" before making his announcement. He said he told the tower's developer to consider just one use, such as residential, for the site. He said he also asked the developer to consider what it could build under the site's existing zoning rights.

The Carillon would have been the tallest built in River North since the 98-story Trump International Hotel & Tower opened in 2009 at 401 N. Wabash Ave. A 60-story office tower at 300 N. LaSalle St. also opened that year amid the depths of recession.

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