3 High-Rise Developments That Recently Reshaped Chicago’s Iconic Skyline

As the official birthplace of the skyscraper, Chicago’s relationship with high-rise construction dates all the way back to the 19th century when the steel-framed Home Insurance Building was completed in 1885. Since then, Chicago has been famously nicknamed the “City of Broad Shoulders” thanks to continued innovation in architecture and high-rise construction specifically. And while the number of cranes hovering high above Chicago’s streets has declined in recent months from the city’s latest construction boom, several recently-completed residential high-rises have permanently reshaped the city’s iconic downtown skyline. 

One Chicago 

14 W Superior St, Chicago, IL 60654

Replacing a surface parking lot that was previously owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, One Chicago tops out at 971 feet, making it one of the Windy City’s tallest buildings. The entire complex consists of two towers connected by a central podium, but it’s the tallest of the two towers that truly takes your breath away. Chicago-based JDL Development was behind the project, and its sleek glass facade was designed by Goettsch Partners and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, also based in Chicago. Although One Chicago is primarily residential, containing 735 apartments and 77 luxury condominiums, the development also includes 55,00 square feet of office space and 188,000 square feet of retail space.

St. Regis Chicago 

401 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

Although construction for the St. Regis Chicago was completed back in 2020, the luxury hotel portion of the building finally just opened in May of 2023. As the third-tallest building in the city upon its completion, and the tallest structure in the world that was designed by a woman, St. Regis Chicago is a stunning addition the Lakeshore East development, which is where you’ll find several other noteworthy residential developments like Aqua, 340 on the Park, and the recently-completed Cirrus Lakeshore East. Along with a design that features three interconnected volumes of varying heights, which feels very Chicagoesque, St. Regis Chicago also contains uninhabited “blow-through floors” to reduce wind-induced sway—a feature that truly makes this high-rise one of the city’s most unique. 

NEMA Chicago 

1210 S Indiana Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Built by Miami-based Crescent Heights, the 76-story tower known as NEMA has completely redefined high-rise apartment living in downtown Chicago. Inside, the building’s seemingly endless list of lifestyle amenities and common area features is widely considered to be among the best of any apartment building in town, and each of the 800 apartment residences not only include the latest in smart-home technology but also perfectly-appointed finishes with spectacular views of the cityscape and Lake Michigan to match. NEMA Chicago was designed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, and somewhat similar to St. Regis Chicago, the building consists of three stacked sections at varying heights that pay homage to Chucago’s Willis Tower, originally known as the Sears Tower.