• Two sites for high-rise apartment towers are competing for the first groundbreaking of 2016.
  • Both have storied pasts: one was Ed Debevic's kitschy diner, the other a decade-old project that stalled.
  • Debevic's was most famous for a waitress whose job-mandated rudeness earned her millions of views on social media.

There are two likely contenders for the first tall tower to begin construction in 2016. Both are on sites with a storied past. First, Related Midwest’s 30-story, 308-unit apartment tower is out of the gate with a newly granted foundation permit. The project in the West Loop at 1035 West Van Buren Street, is a new vision for this parking lot. Some may recall that just over a decade ago, in June 2005, a 27-story tower was approved for the site as part of larger plan for the whole block. The rest of the block took off; just to the east sits the Automatic Lofts, a student housing building crafted from a former warehouse. To the west sits Blue Plate Catering. According to published reports about the project, the original plan for a postmodern theme with older architectural enhancemen...