At 54 stories, The Clare at Water Tower is one of the world’s tallest senior-living residences. Located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, the 730,000-sq-ft structure is a continuing care retirement community with 248 luxury units. It houses 32 levels of independent living space, three levels of assisted living space, and three levels of skilled nursing space.

The Clare at Water Tower
Photo © Steinkamp Photography

The structure has many sustainable elements, including a large roof garden on the 9th level and a green roof on level 53.

Key Players

Owner: Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corp., Lemont, Ill., and Greystone Communities, Irving, Texas
General Contractor: Bovis Lend Lease Inc., Chicago
Design Firm: Perkins & Will, Chicago

From the start of the $135-million project, a split site excavation and retention system allowed an early start on the building’s core. The hydraulically jacked form system kept a four-day pour cycle in typical floor conditions. To minimize impact of the building’s critical mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems in the rooftop mechanical room during construction, the glass curtainwall was pre-assembled and lifted into place with a tower crane.

Phased occupancy allowed the building to be turned over to the owner in four vertical phases for the earliest possible move-ins. Challenges the construction team overcame included a small project site located in a congested neighborhood, vacated caissons from previous buildings on the site, sub-grade obstructions, variations in bearing soils and degradation of caissons due to silt and water infiltration.