RIVER NORTH — A developer wants to replace Holy Name Cathedral's parking lot with a pair of new towers, including one that really stretches toward the heavens.
Chicago-based JDL Development filed its zoning application with city officials Wednesday for the big development site at State Street and Chicago Avenue.
The plan calls for a new 76-story tower and 45-story tower rising from a nine-story shopping center on the lot. All together, the development would include up to 914 new high-rise homes, 200,000 square feet of retail, 45,000 square feet of office space and 659 parking spaces.
The proposed project is called One Chicago Square, the office of Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said.
"It's exciting," JDL Development President Jim Letchinger told Crain's Chicago Business, which first reported news of the proposal Wednesday morning. "It's terrifying."
At 1,011 feet, the taller of the two proposed towers would be nearly as tall as the 1,127-foot John Hancock Center.
High-rise construction is nothing new for JDL Development, which replaced the former Ed Debevic's diner with an apartment tower and is building an ultra-luxurious 37-story condominium tower next to the Waldorf Astoria in the Gold Coast.
Cathedral's parking lot is in Hopkins' ward, but Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) told River North neighbors at an unrelated meeting last week that JDL Development was "contemplating" a large grocery store on the site.
Letchinger told Crain's the project also would include restaurants and an upscale gym comparable to the East Bank Club. The residential units would be mostly apartments, including 75 condos, according to the report.
A developer wants to replace Holy Name Cathedral's parking lot with a pair of new skyscrapers. [DNAinfo/David Matthews]
The developer would satisfy his affordable housing requirements with the city by building 91 such units at a different site that's yet to be determined.
Letchinger's plans require city approval. The first public presentation will start at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24th on the 15th floor of Kasbeer Hall, 25 E. Pearson St., on Loyola University's Water Tower campus, Hopkins' office said.
The Archdiocese of Chicago reportedly sold Cathedral's parking lot for more than $110 million earlier this year amid slipping attendance and churches falling into disrepair across the Chicago area. An archdiocese spokeswoman told DNAinfo last year that proceeds from the sale would go toward "debt repayments" and the archdiocese's other cash needs.
Though it's long been viewed as a prime development site, the parking lot also has a sordid past as the place where mobster florist Dean "Dion" O'Banion was shot dead in 1924 for double-crossing onetime Chicago Outfit boss Johnny Torrio and his emerging protege, Al Capone.
Letchinger did not immediately return a message seeking comment.