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Live, Up in the Sky!

Of the 12 tallest residential buildings in the United States, seven call Chicago home.

Live, Up in the Sky!

Of the 12 tallest residential buildings in the United States, seven call Chicago home.

Sanjay Shah isn’t the only person living in the clouds. Chicago is home to seven of the 12 tallest residential buildings in the United States, including two—Trump International Hotel & Tower and the John Hancock Center—that rise more than 1,000 feet. They’ll soon be joined by the proposed 88-floor Wanda Vista, designed by Jeanne Gang and expected to break ground in 2016. Why does Chicago have so many tall buildings? In part because it’s the birthplace of a lot of the architectural innovations—fireproofing, steel frames, elevator technologies—that make the high life possible. That, and a healthy, if unofficial, competition with New York.

1

432 Park Avenue

New York City
(unoccupied)
Opening this fall
Height: 1,396 feet
Percent residential: 85%
Highest residential floor: 96 (of 96)
2

Trump International Hotel & Tower

Opened: 2008
Height: 1,388 feet
Percent residential: 65%
Highest residential floor: 89 (of 92)

Trump’s spire counts in the height because it’s nonfunctional. The Hancock’s workhorse antennas don’t qualify.

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How can Shah’s 89th-floor penthouse sit above the Hancock’s 92nd-floor peak? Ceilings in most Trump units are 10 feet, versus Hancock’s 8.5.

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Residents include the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, and comedian Steve Harvey.

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ILLUSTRATIONS: REMIE GEOFFROI
3

John Hancock Center

Opened: 1969
Height: 1,128 feet
Percent residential: 47%
Highest residential floor: 92 (of 100)

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Zoom to the top in 39 seconds on the fastest elevators in the United States.

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Chicago’s most affordable tall tower: The price per square foot is in the $300 range.

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4

One57

New York City
Opened: 2014
Height: 1,005 feet
Percent residential: 69%
Highest residential floor: 75 (of 75)
5

900 North Michigan

Opened: 1989
Height: 871 feet
Percent residential: 38%
Highest residential floor: 66 (of 66)

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Real estate and casino magnate Neil Bluhm’s 900 N. Michigan unit reportedly has a custom glass staircase and art by Andy Warhol.

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An elevator connects the residential portion directly with the Four Seasons and the hotel’s fancy amenities.

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6

New York by Gehry

New York City
Opened: 2011
Height: 870 feet
Percent residential: 91%
Highest residential floor: 76 (of 76)
7

Trump World Tower

New York City
Opened: 2001
Height: 861 feet
Percent residential: 100%
Highest residential floor: 90 (of 90)
8

Water Tower Place

Opened: 1976
Height: 859 feet
Percent residential: 54%
Highest residential floor: 74 (of 74)

A mixed-use pioneer, Water Tower Place includes a Ritz-Carlton, a 133-store mall, and 200,000 square feet of offices. Until 1989, this was the world’s tallest reinforced concrete building.

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Oprah Winfrey owns adjoining units on the 56th and 57th floors that add up to a 9,625-square-foot über-duplex.

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9

Aqua

Opened: 2009
Height: 859 feet
Percent residential: 76%
Highest residential floor: 81 (of 82)

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Aqua is the only Chicago tower on the list that both rents and sells units (67 percent are rentals).

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GPS guidance ensured that the curvy balconies—different for each unit—precisely matched the blueprints.

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10

Two Liberty Place

Philadelphia
Opened: 1990
Height: 848 feet
Percent residential: 34%
Highest residential floor: 56 (of 58)
11

Park Tower

Opened: 2000
Height: 844 feet
Percent residential: 70%
Highest residential floor: 67 (of 68)

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A 400-ton pendulum hanging within the roof regulates swaying caused by high winds.

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During planning, developers increased ceiling heights by about 18 inches, raising the tower from 650 to 844 feet, with the same floor count.

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12

The Legacy at Millennium Park

Opened: 2009
Height: 822 feet
Percent residential: 78%
Highest residential floor: 72 (of 73)

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Because of the building’s wedge-shaped design, almost every unit has views of Lake Michigan and Millennium Park.

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There are two-story terraces on the 42nd and 60th floors.

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