2015 Merit Award
Jones Lang LaSalle
In 2013 the owners of the Prudential Plaza committed to substantial reinvestment in this 1950s era high-rise office building in order to keep it competitive and attractive in the downtown Chicago office rental market. The goal was to reposition the property by upgrading existing systems and spaces, such as the lobby, security, elevators, and other common areas, and to provide new amenities that would differentiate the property in the marketplace. The lead role in the repositioning fell to a new tenant amenity floor. Because other office buildings also offer interior tenant amenities, the heavy lifting with respect to differentiation in the marketplace fell to the proposed roof garden, an amenity which many properties cannot offer.
The roof garden capitalizes on the site’s greatest asset, the views from the 11th floor to the surrounding skyline and the parks and lake below. The roof garden has a raised promenade on its east, south, and west sides such that users are above the building’s opaque parapet wall and are looking through a transparent glass security railing. The Park Promenade above Millennium Park is anchored by an outdoor bar on the west end and a fire pit lounge on the east.
Other roof garden amenities available to all of the building’s tenants include a self-service bar (that can also be staffed by caterers for special events) with an overhead trellis; a fire pit lounge with another overhead trellis; and a raised promenade along the garden’s south perimeter, that raises users above the building’s parapet and offers uninterrupted views. A central lawn area is an unexpected and wonderful amenity in and of itself, but also becomes the venue for informal activities, such as a game of “bags,” and accommodates performances with its small stage and surrounding terraced seating. Extensively landscaped with subtle indirect lighting, the garden can be used well into the evening.
The Prudential Plaza has undergone a substantial transformation in the past two years. The new roof garden has been a significant factor in providing an amenity that other properties cannot offer and thus an equally significant factor in the repositioning of this property in the downtown office rental market.
Project Team: Bear Construction; Christy Webber Landscapes; Solomon Cordwell Buenz; Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.