When the economy halted in 2008 so too did work on what was to be "Shangri-La." The 28-story concrete shell sat along one of the most visible stretches of the Chicago River. Gathering dust, it became anything but the paradise the original development team envisioned. Bringing high-rise expertise, in-depth analysis and a culture of collaborative planning, WSP USA helped OneEleven Wacker come alive at last, ensuring its place of prominence on the Chicago River.



  • Chicago, Illinois, USA

Project Status

  • Completed


  • Distinguished Building Award, AIA Chicago
  • Merit Award for New Construction, Chicago Building Congress
  • Vision Award for Urban Residential, Urban Land Institute Chicago
  • Development of the Year, Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards

Bringing the Building to Life

Numerous development teams with grand plans failed to woo investors and thereby erase the recession-induced "black eye" from Chicago's skyline. Related Midwest and its design team devised an economic and efficient solution to turn the incomplete structure into a 60-story high-end apartment tower and the highlight of the Architecture Boat Cruise it was always meant to become. Having done a peer review of the original structural design, we understood the challenges and possibilities in reusing the existing structure. Scarcely six months after opening, this 504-unit luxury apartment tower was sold for over $300 million. The $650,000 price per unit set a record for apartment buildings in Chicago.



Key Structural Elements

WSP USA designed an optimal concrete structural addition including seven half-inch post-tensioned slabs and a column grid that was coordinated with the owner’s desired apartment layouts. A new optimized concrete core was designed above level 30. The existing core below was reused, after being updated with numerous new openings and infills to accommodate the new architectural design. A 60-inch-deep post-tensioned slab, integrated at the amenities floor at level 30, transfers the new column grid and core walls of the upper levels to the original existing core and column grid below.

Our team also designed reinforcement of two existing columns, which were originally designed to support 30 floors, as they now needed to support 60 floors.

Verification of the original structure was also performed. Although the original structure was to be taller, the original footprint above level 30 was quite different from the new footprint. Much of the existing structure below level 30 could not support the additional floors of the new tower if not from the innovative structural design put in place.