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Chicago OKs Tallest Building

September 22, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ Take that, Malaysia.

After three years of hearing about how the Petronas Towers in Malaysia had supplanted Chicago’s Sears Tower as the tallest in the world, the Second City may again become No. 1.

The Chicago Plan Commission has approved a 112-story building that would rise 1,537 feet, or about 87 feet higher than the Sears Tower and _ most significantly _ 54 feet higher than the Petronas Towers.

The plan submitted to the commission Tuesday by European American Realty Ltd. also includes a broadcasting antenna that, while not part of the building’s official height, would bring the tower to a full 2,000 feet.

The slender, tapered tower, with an expected cost of $500 million, would be built at the corner of Dearborn and Madison streets, in the heart of the downtown Loop. The site is currently occupied by a vacant 17-story building.

Scott K. Toberman, the president of European American Realty, first proposed the tower 18 months ago but withdrew that proposal. When he renewed his application Tuesday, Toberman said his company now has sufficient financing for the project.

``We have the commitment for the debt and equity today,″ Toberman said. ``We will be in the ground by early May.″

He estimated that construction might be completed in 2003.

The developer still needs permission from the Chicago City Council to raze the existing building and build the new one.

Toberman said the new building would include 350 residential units, 765,000 square feet of office space, a two-level retail concourse and parking for at least 950 cars.

The building’s designer is Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, the architectural firm that designed the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Center.

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