Where will 2016’s first Chicago high-rise sprout up?

New buildings proposed for former site of Ed Debevic's and 1035 Van Buren
  • 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.

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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 enhancements for the 27-story tower was scrapped when the project was. Related has now refined the vision to a modern-influenced design. The design features a glass and metal tower of 330 feet, atop a parkin...