Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Sadly, vacation is over, but I am left feeling great about Chicago. My first visit ever was short, but I saw a lot of the "Second City." I really appreciate the height district and restrictions in DC, but being in a place like Chicago makes you think... What if we allowed skyscrapers?

Both sides of the Potomac would glisten and the real estate market in DC would get a boost that would last 20 years or more. Philadelphia seemingly gets a new tower every couple of years after abandoning its height limit in the mid-1980s. Many buildings in the downtown core of DC would be replaced. Areas of the District which have seen little or no development would become instant construction zones. DC's tallest, the Washington Monument, at 555 feet is only a 1/3 as tall as Chicago's newest tower, the glass clad Trump International Hotel (nearly complete, on the left in the first photo below) and only 1/4 as tall as the soon to be world's tallest, the Chicago Spire. The monument, along with the Capitol and other prominent District buildings would be dwarfed by the new towers.

When the city was attempting to creatively finance National's Park, then Mayor Williams suggested an economic zone around the stadium where builders could build beyond the District height limit, for a small fee, with the bonus of additional tax revenue on all the new square footage. Obviously that didn't happen. I don't see it happening anytime soon, but at some point the city will jettison and/or at least increase the limit along as DC continues to build out its downtown area. Anyway, here are some photos for inspiration/dreaming.