Chicago's Trump International Hotel and Tower marked the end of a long drought in the city's super tower scene. The 1960's saw the Hancock Center rise into the sky. In the 1970's it was the Sears Tower and the Aon Center. Then... nothing. Several proposals, including ones for what would have been the world's tallest buildings, failed to come to fruition. The Chicago skyline as seen in the 1980's film Ferris Beuller's Day Off would remain much the same decades later as a new century dawned.
It was real estate mogul and international showman, Donald Trump who eventually stepped up to the plate with a plan to replace the grandiose 1950's metal shed that was the Chicago Sun-Times building with a glittering tower bearing his name. At first there was much excitement as The Donald's organization made the announcement. But that evaporated into disappointment in 2001 when the first sketches came out of revered local architecture powerhouse SOM. It showed a multi-tiered silver-glass giant that didn't so much soar into the sky as squat along the Chicago River. Simply put, it was too wide, not majestic, and made a mockery of the architectural wonders next door -- the Wrigley Building, the Jewelers Building, and the Tribune Tower.
A subsequent revision in 2002 by SOM's Adrian Smith was a significant improvement. It definitely fit in with the city's then-architectural trend of putting illuminated spires on everything. But alas, it looked a lot like the beloved, yet time-worn Sears Tower. This was primarily because of the use of stacked boxes. Even though they were not square, but octagons and hexagons, the design seemed too familiar.
The third time was the charm. The final edition of the plan dropped the angles in favor of curves, and massed the sections in such a way as to evoke a ship of commerce steaming through the city. It's the same sense one gets from looking at the Wrigley Building next door from the correct angles. Prow and prowess.
The Trump Tower Chicago makes great use of its available space while creating another icon in the city's skyline. Also important, its setbacks pay homage to the Art Deco-era skyscrapers that made Chicago a living architectural museum. And it manages to reach for the stars without stepping on the feet of other buildings in the area. To its neighbors, it appears as an equal. That's because the first setback is at the same height as the cornice on the Wrigley Building, the second is the same height as Marina City, and the third is at the top of the former IBM Building across the street.
December, 2001: The initial artists sketch of the Trump Tower Chicago is unveiled. People find it bland.
July, 2002: A revised plan is presented to the public. It receives better reviews.
22 January, 2004: In a plan to adjust to changing economic realities, the design is changed so that floors 17 through 26 are converted from offices to condominiums and hotel rooms.
15 October, 2004:- The last of the Chicago Sun-Times employees move out of the old Sun-Times building to make way for the new Trump Towe Chicago.
15 October, 2004: Donald Trump purchases the last piece of the property he needs to move forward with the project. The total paid for the land is $73,000,000.
February, 2005: Mayor Daley convinces Donald Trump to put the spire back into plans for the tower.
February, 2005: WGN Television reports that the top floor condominium in the Trump International Hotel and Tower sold for $28 million.
23 February, 2005: WGN Television reports that Donald Trump has decided to increase the height of the spire to make this the tallest skyscraper in North America. The Chicago Tribune carries a more complete story the next day, stating that the new Trump spire design could top 1,484 feet, taking the world's second-tallest title away from the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.
17 March, 2005:- Construction officially begins on the Trump Tower.
2 October, 2005: The concrete for the foundation mat arrives in what is called the "Big Pour." Dozens of truck work continuously for almost 24 hours to pour 5,000 cubic yards of wet concrete into an area 66 feet wide, 200 feet long, and 10 feet deep. This creates an underground anchor for the building. The concrete is mixed to withstand 10,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.
January 30, 2008 - The hotel portion of this building opened for business.
February 1, 2008: Construction reached the 60th floor.
April 28, 2008: The official opening ceremony was held.
August 16, 2008: This building is topped out.
September 23, 2008: Donald Trump and his immediate family participate in a topping out ceremony for this building.
December 13, 2008: After weeks of delays, a helicopter attempts to lift a piece of the building's spire into place. The operation is cancelled due to high winds.
January 3, 2009: The first pieces of the spire are successfully lifted into place.
April, 2009: Anticipated completion date.
May 5, 2009: The final piece of the building's spire is put in place.
June 23, 2010: The building's spire is illuminated for the first time.
The tower was originally planned to have 461 condominiums and 227 combination hotel rooms and condominiums.
According to the Chicago Tribune, SOM built about 50 models of the building before getting the design they wanted.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Donald Trump bought the $28,000,000 14,000 square-foot 89th floor penthouse for his personal use.
The residents of this tower have their own private dog run.
At the time of its completion, this was the largest reinforced concrete building in North America.
This building is made of concrete instead of steel to reduce sway and maximize window space.
When this building was built, the freight railroad tracks that delivered newspaper rolls to the old Chicago Sun-Times building were preserved so the city might some day make a passenger rail link between Michigan Avenue and Union Station and the Ogilvie Transportation Center in the West Loop.
The hotel uniforms were designed by Ivanka Trump.
Trump Gets Spired A time-lapse video of the erection of the spire atop the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago
In the 2004 NBC television series <i>The Apprentice</i>, Donald Trimp awarded the winner of the contest, Bill Rancic, a job running this building.
This was the location of the Chicago Sun-Times building, made famous in postcards, publications, and the CBS television series "Early Edition."
The Swarovski crystal chandelier in the restaurant. It was created with more than19,000 crystals.
Floors made of Italian marble, French limestone, and zebrawood.
Trump's public relations people say some floors are made of "zebra wood." Zebrawood is a species threatened with extinction. When a Prada boutique in New York was built with the material, environmentalists protested and Prada pledged to never use it again.
"A very tall building whose form derives not from its internal structure, as Sears, the Hancock and the Aon Center do, but from its relationship to its external setting."
-Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune, 31 July, 2002
"Prior to September 11, we had plans for a building of approximately 150 stories."
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