The economy may be acting like a square, but the 82-story “Aqua” in Chicago is making waves with hipsters looking to live in style. Built by general contractor James McHugh Construction Co., the $475-million tower topped out on March 4 and is nearly sold out, says owner Magellan Development Group. The 2.2-million-sq-ft, 968-unit building is set to open in phases starting in May and finish up next year on time, on budget. It includes 264 condos, 476 rentals and hotel spaces, a mixed-use first for Chicago, says Magellan, which planned Aqua to bookend a $4-billion Lakeshore East urban village. Designed by architect Jeanne Gang, the curvy balconies were carefully shaped with custom-made forms made of light-gauge steel and anchor clips, guided by robotic total stations.

Curvy, Hip High-Rise Attracts Condo Buyers Despite Downturn
Photo: Craig Barner for Midwest Construction / ENR