The History Behind the Huge Pit in Downtown Chicago

Carter of the geographical channel That Is Interesting looked into the history of a huge yet seemingly random pit that sits right in the middle of Chicago‘s prestigious Lake Shore Drive. It turns out that this pit was supposed to be the foundation for the Chicago Spire, a planned skyscraper that would be the second tallest building in the world after Burj Khalifa.

Now in this abandoned plot of land right in the heart of downtown Chicago there’s a circular pit surrounded by trees and filled with water. Now this isn’t a well and it wasn’t supposed to be a pond. It was supposed to be the foundation of a building not just any building but a mega tall skyscraper that would have been the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

This building was approved in 2006, and construction began, although ownership changed hands due to financial difficulties. Unfortunately, legal and financial hardships delayed the project for several years. The sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008 hit and the project was delayed again.

In 2007 it was approved by the city and ready to go. A fully residential building now, Shelbourne begins selling and renting hundreds of units. Things were looking good for the Chicago spire and Shelbourne broke ground on the project beginning to dig the foundation for the skyscraper but 2008 it turns out would soon be marked by a global financial crisis that would be the worst the US and the world had experienced up untilthe point since the Great Depression.

Finally, the project was called off, and two smaller buildings would be constructed on the side. And then COVID hit.

he new owners related Midwest did want to continue construction just not the Spire. Instead they planned to build two skyscrapers shorter than the Spire but still fairly tall …The taller one at 875 feet would be Chicago’s 11th tallest building and the complex called 400 Lakeshore Drive was approved, but the site got hit with bad timing once again this time the pandemic.

The plan for 400 Lake Shore Drive is still on, although as of this date, no construction has taken place. It’s still a big hole filled with water in the middle of downtown Chicago.

 It weathered the storm and initially planned to start construction in 2022 and finish the towers in 2024. As I write this though it’s the middle of 2023, and I was just at this fire site, nothing is under construction and there’s no equipment or signs of progress. Just an old fence and a pit. The foundation of what was supposed to be the second tallest building in the world filled with water

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