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Plans For City's Third Tallest Building Get First Approval

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A $950 million skyscraper that would be the city's third tallest was granted initial approval Thursday by the Chicago Plan Commission.

The Wanda Vista Tower, the vision of Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, would be located in Lakeshore East, along the Chicago River, and would include a five-star 210-room hotel, and more than 400 condominiums, along with restaurant and retail amenities on the upper levels.

Plans also called for a public elementary school, should the city, the Chicago Board of Education, and the Chicago Public Schools request one, by the end of June 2020.

Slated for completion in 2019, the Wanda Vista would be nearly 1,200 feet tall, making it the third tallest building in Chicago; behind only the 1,451-foot Willis Tower, and the 1,389-foot Trump Tower.

Wanda Vista 1 (c) Studio Gang Architects
(Credit: Jeanne Gang Studios)

The building would consist of three interlocked towers, the tallest at 1,189 feet, with the middle tower straddling Field Boulevard.

The 1.8 million-square-foot tower also would include connections to a nearby park, Upper Wacker Drive, and the Chicago Riverwalk, which itself has undergone a major renovation in recent years.

Wanda Vista
Artistic rendering of the 88-story Wanda Vista skyscraper planned for the Lakeshore East neighborhood. (Credit: City of Chicago)

The project still requires approval from the City Council, which must sign off on necessary zoning changes for the tower.

Approval by the City Council is considered likely, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel already has announced his support of the project.

Backed by leading Chinese real estate developer Wanda Group, owned by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, the deal would be the largest real estate investment by a Chinese firm in Chicago.

Construction of the skyscraper would create more than 2,000 jobs. Once completed, more than 500 permanent jobs would be created, according to the mayor's office.

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