Skyscapers Are Alive And Well In Chicago, Because People Want To Live In Them

Posted on September 20, 2018

The world’s tallest buildings might be in Asia these days, but skyscraper development in Chicago — home of some of the first skyscrapers anywhere —isn’t at all a thing of the past. That is because Downtown living is spurring development to new heights.

With the completion in August of the 535-foot 465 North Park building, a 444-unit apartment property by Jupiter Realty Co., Chicago’s skyline now features exactly 100 skyscrapers, and more are on the way.

The development of tall buildings isn’t being driven by the demand for office space, though the three tallest buildings in the city are legacy office towers. The urge to live Downtown is driving new skyscrapers in Chicago, according to a new report by CommercialCafé.

Job growth is bringing people back to Downtown Chicago, as it is in many major downtowns, as is the desire to be near urban amenities and a transit infrastructure.

The report covers the entirety of skyscraper development in the United States and notes — perhaps to Chicago’s chagrin — that the majority of such construction these days is in New York.

Even so, Chicago has been busy building skyscrapers at a time when they are supposedly out of fashion in the U.S. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, China is where the action is now in skyscrapers (its definition is over 200 meters, or about 650 feet — CommercialCafe’s report defines a skyscraper as at least 40 stories and 500 feet including spires). In 2017, there were 76 skyscrapers completed in China, while in the U.S. that year, there were only 10.

Since 2000, 38 skyscrapers have been added to Chicago’s skyline, the report says. Of that, 25 were residential towers.

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