Final approval for the largest residential development on the lakefront in many years, a planned a 49-story condominium tower at 600 N. Lake Shore Dr., may be delayed when Chicago’s City Council meets on Aug 30. At issue is whether or not the building will significantly block afternoon sunlight, casting shadows at Ohio Street Beach which is directly across from the planned $200 million development.
“We expect that Mayor Daley will move to delay the approval while further study is made,” says Bess Demopoulos of the neighborhood group Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR). “We’ve accumulated over 5,000 signatures in a petition opposing the height of the building and we expect that to have a big influence on the mayor and council.” Neither the mayor nor a spokesperson for the mayor’s office could be reached for comment.
Demopoulos admitted that over half the petition’s signatures come from tourists visiting nearby Navy Pier, signatures that are likely to have little influence over Chicago politicians. Also, Alderman Burt Natarus, in whose 42nd Ward the development falls, is strongly behind the project. “That vacant lot has been a eyesore for 20 years,” he said.
Nevertheless, SOAR claims to have shadow studies that contradict the developer’s contention that shadows would only occur at the beach in the very late afternoon. “We don’t want to stop the development, we just want them to reduce the height by 10-stories to 39-stories,” said Demopoulos.
While developer Atlantis Properties would not provide any comment, it is clear that a 10-story height reduction would result in a huge profit haircut for the project. Atlantis plans on starting construction in the spring with a 30-month construction schedule. The 252 condos are expected are to sell for between $800,000 and $1.5 million.