BMO Tower eyes 2019 groundbreaking

Downtown is preparing to add another new office tower to the mix

On Monday, BMO Financial Group confirmed plans to anchor an upcoming 700-foot office tower next to Chicago’s Union Station. With the bank officially onboard, the glassy high-rise is on track to break ground as early as next year and open its doors in 2022.

The company will consolidate approximately 3,600 BMO employees across 14 floors within the 50-story tower, according to a statement. The lease includes naming rights for the development—now known as BMO Tower—as well as exterior corporate signage.

The architectural design from Chicago firm Goettsch Partners also appears to have changed slightly compared to earlier renderings. The facade now features less pronounced horizontal breaks at each setback and the previous X-shaped supporting stilts have been swapped for a less pronounced ‘V’ arrangement.

Co-developed by Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties, BMO Tower will replace an Amtrak-owned parking garage just south of Union Station’s transit center. At its base, a 1.5-acre publicly accessible park will conceal a 400-stall garage.

Riverside Investment & Development/Goettsch Partners
A rendering of the BMO Tower’s base and quasi-public park.

In addition to partnering on Union Station’s garage redevelopment, Riverside, Convexity, and Amtrak are preparing to renovate the upper floors on the station’s historic headhouse into 400 hotel rooms. An early design calling for a clumsy seven-story apartment addition, however, was cut from the overall plan. Zoning for the both office tower and headhouse conversion was approved by the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council in October.

“The new BMO Tower not only speaks to BMO’s commitment to our city and its future, it also represents a vote of confidence in the Union Station modernization project as a vital link to economic, cultural, and recreational investments for Chicago’s residents, visitors, and businesses,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.

When it opens, BMO Tower will join an increasingly crowded downtown office market. The 1.5 million-square-foot high-rise was face competition from the 1.4 million-square-foot Bank of America tower under construction at 110 N. Wacker, the planned 1.2 million-square-foot Salesforce Tower at Wolf Point, and the ongoing renovation of Chicago’s sprawling old Post Office into 2.8-million-square feet of modern office space.

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