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A record-breaking elevator and office towers are on the drawing board.

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A rendering shows the proposed glass elevator enclosure rising along a corner to the top of Aon Center; image by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

1,000-ft Glass Elevator OK’d for Aon Center

Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development has approved a plan by developer 601W and architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz to add the tallest exterior glass elevator in North America to Aon Center (ELEVATOR WORLD, July 2018), Archinect reported in February. The US$185-million project, first announced in March 2019, would add a 1,000-ft-tall exterior elevator, which would whisk visitors up to an observation deck. The plan includes a thrill ride on the roof of the 1,136-ft-tall tower that would let those daring enough hang over the side in a gondola-type enclosure. NYC-based Legends, which operates the observatory at One World Trade Center, is partnering with 601W to operate the observatory. Work is expected to begin later this year, with completion targeted for 2022.

Residential, Office Towers Planned

A 23-story residential and a 30-story office tower are among plans being reviewed, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reported in February, citing Curbed Chicago and Crain’s Chicago Business. At Irving Park Road and Marine Drive just west of Lake Shore Drive in Uptown, developers Keith Giles and CA Ventures want to convert a historic high school to 275 residences and build a 23-story, 220-unit tower for senior citizens. One of “only a handful” of lakefront locations suitable for high-rise construction, the plan needs the support of local interests and a zoning change. At 450 North Dearborn Street in River North, prolific local developer Albert Friedman is reviving a plan for a 30-story office tower (EW, December 2018), which now has a design by Goettsch Partners. The tower would be named Rivere for a hotel that once operated nearby and include a rebuilt fire station on the ground floor.

KONE Outfitting N.C. Casino Resort With Elevators

KONE plans to start outfitting Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina, with 16 elevators in August. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians selected Whiting Turner Contracting Co. as general contractor for the development, which includes more than 700 hotel rooms in a 19-story tower, 83,000 ft2 of conference space, shops, restaurants, a pool, a fitness center and a 2,000-space parking garage. KONE expects to complete elevator installation in 2021.

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Elevator World | April 2020 Issue Cover