Lake Point Tower

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505 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL

Lake Point Tower

Lake Point Tower stands isolated from other buildings, kept company only by the breaking waves of Lake Michigan
Building Information
Developer Hartnett-Shaw Associates Inc
Architect Schipporeit-Heinrich Inc
Management Company FirstService Residential Illinois
Number of Units 758
Number of Floors 70
Year Built 1968
Construction Method Concrete
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505 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
Distance to Public Transit Outside of the front door
Region Chicago
Municipality Chicago
Zoning DX-12
Title of Land Condominium



Above view of the tower showing off its sleek curvy figure and lush green space below

Lake point tower soars 645 feet above the planar surface of Lake Michigan making it a beacon on the point.

Residents enjoy views across the water as far as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

At the time of its completion in 1968, this award winning building was the tallest in the world. Ironically, today it holds the title of the shortest of 70-level tower.

Of the 70 levels, 65 are occupied by private residents and the remaining bottom 5 are occupied by office and amenity spaces. It was built with 879 apartment units, which were eventually converted into 758 condominium units. Wealthy owners chose to combine multiple units to maximize their spaces. It is estimated that 1,200 people currently call Lake Point Tower home.


Breathtaking view of Navy Pier from Lake Point Tower

Beyond the tower, the 3,300-foot long Navy Pier horizontally extends onto the lake. Residents enjoy front row seats of Navy Piers firework displays. The pier was built in 1916 as part of the Plan of Chicago established in 1906.

Its primary purpose was to serve as a cargo facility for lake freights. When it opened, it was the largest pier in the world. It was officially named Navy Pier in 1927 to honor the people serving in World War II.

Its 150 foot Ferris-wheel opened in July of 1995 and has become and iconic symbol for the pier and was recognized when Clinton Shepherd set the record for the longest Ferris Wheel ride. [1]

At the base of the tower sits Millennium park. Within the park is Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Foundation and Lurie Garden.[2]

Off the shores of the lake is Ohio Street Beach offering its white sandy beaches.

For artistic pursuits, within Lake Point Tower's neighborhood is The Art Institute, Symphony Hall and the Chicago Theater District which includes the Shakespeare Theater and the Lookingglass Theatre Company.

Other popular destinations in the area include the Magnificent Mile, the Chicago Loop, and Michigan Avenue. These areas are populated with restaurants, cafes, shops, boutiques, office buildings and hotels.[3]


Mies van der Rohe tower proposed for Berlin
Lake Point Tower under construction

The architect reports that there was really no inspiration for the tower. The shape came from the idea of designing a tall building that provides both privacy and good views. It is believed that the tower was modeled after a skyscraper proposal for Berlin drawn in 1992.

Originally, the building was supposed to have four wings. It was replaced with three wings to speed up construction time and the 120 degree angels prevented the suites from looking into each other. Another advantage to the shape is it directs the wind loads reducing the pressure differentials and forces on the curtain walls.[4]

The tower was constructed on a caisson foundation system. The concrete structure and aluminum facade provides the required support for the 11,310 bronze-tinted double pane windows. The small details in the design were carefully considered; all the HVAC was directed to be concealed within the window sashes and all the mullions are spaced so that as you are standing right at the glass they disappear from view. [5]

The structural core is a triangular form that spans 59 feet in length. Within it, there are nine elevators and three stairwells. The core was designed to hold all the vertical weight of the building, which reduced the required size for the perimeter caissons. [6]

Layout and Features

Driveway and Rotunda

Lake Point Tower is equipped with an automatic window cleaning machine that cleans the exterior windows every month.

The lobby features two towering waterfalls with a seating area. The entire area has natural stone finishes.

Each suite has its own heating and cooling controls.

The entire building is secured with an alarm/voice communication speaker and electronic entry.

Cars arrive at the building in a circular driveway within a two story open skylight rotunda that looks all the way up the tower.

Floor Plans

The building layout consists of commercial levels on the first two floors, and outdoor park on the third level, and residential floors between 4 and 68, with mechanical equipment being on the floor 69 and penthouse commercial level on the 70th floor.[7]

The office and retail spaces on the ground floor and 2nd levels range from 650 to almost 12,000 square feet.


Lake Point Tower offers many luxurious amenities providing residents with everything they need without having to leave.

  • The building is famous for its 2.5 acre wooded park on the third floor. The park includes a heated outdoor pool, lagoon, waterfall, barbecue grills, playground and gardens. The park was named Skyline Park and was designed by Alfred Caldwell.
  • In addition to the outdoor pool, there is also a heated indoor pool with whirlpool, steam rooms, and saunas.
  • The 70th floor features a rooftop restaurant that provides breathtaking views as a side to your yummy meal.
  • To keep guests occupied without having to go out, the lower levels have a lot of onsite shopping.
  • Meeting rooms are on the lower levels and they have the equipment to be televised live.
  • To keep everything in check, there is on site property management offices, and on site engineering staff.
  • For guests conveniences, 24 hour doorman and 24 hour valet services are available.
  • Like many condominiums, the Lake Point Tower Provides bike storage.
  • A loading dock was added as a convenience to the commercial and retail portion.
  • For preparation for big fancy parties, there is an on site dry cleaner and on site coin operated laundromat.
  • To keep everything organized and orderly, there is an on site mail room and FedEx box.
  • For occupants benefit, the site has dental and medical offices on the lower levels.
  • The on site grocery with deli serves breakfast lunch and dinner.
  • There is a first class health club.
  • In addition to the traditional weight rooms, there is also a racquetball and handball court.
  • An 18 mile lakefront path provides residence with a safe and lovely place for an evening stroll.[8]


Lake Point Tower Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes

  • No hoteling, and leases must be at least 6 months in duration.
  • You are allowed to keep furry critters. One dog not over 30 pounds and cats are welcome.
  • Barbecues are aloud, there is a barbecue area on the third floor.


Lake Point Tower was built before sustainable principals were normal practice.

The fact that it has Skyline Park provides more 'green' space it more sustainable than the buildings built during the time. Rain water runoff is sped down and reduces the stress on the city's storm-water runoff infrastructure. In addition, the insulation soils prevent heat loss through the roof of the levels below. The park can be considered an intensive green roof for the parking garage.

Many LEED seminars have taken place at Skyline Park, educating people on how they can live greener by easy day-to-day changes and certain updates that can be done to existing buildings.[9]


Building proposal scene
  • Lake point tower has received many awards over its time, including: Chicago Chapter AIA Distinguished Building Award, 1969 and Honor Award, 1970; American Institute of Architects National Honor Award, 1970; Chicago Chapter AIA 25 Year Award, 1994; and American Institute of Architects Ranked #73 of 150 favorite buildings in the US.
  • The architect served in the army and originally wanted to be an engineer.
  • Lake Point Tower's design influenced Harbor Point and Park Tower condominiums.
  • The building was the tallest building until 1971 when One Shell Plaza was built in Houston.
  • The original plan was to have 3 identical towers.
  • Thid project was the first commissioned job the architects did.[10]
  • Famous people who stayed in the building, either temporarily or permanently, Sammy SOsa, Anthony Quinn, Tom Cruise, Dolly Parton, Tom Selleck, Goldie Hawn, Halle Berry, Kurt Russell, Alice Cooper, Rachael Barton, Samuel Ramey, Helen Reddy, Natalie Cole, Ryne Sandburg, Rich Gossage, Andre Dawson, Frank di Pino, Ozzie Guillen, Scottie Pippen, Charley Finley, Kent Ninomiya, John Coleman, and Ruben Feinberg.
  • In 1988, the process to convert the residences from apartments to condominiums began.
  • April 20, 2004, a fire broke out in the 14th story of the building, leaving one person was injured.
  • Lake Point Tower was the filming location for Raw Deal, Crime Story, Folks, Straight Talk, While You're Sleeping, and The Lake House.[11]
  • It was one of the first all-electric high-rise residential buildings in the world.[12]


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Lake Point Tower
  4. A View on Cities
  5. Emporis
  6. Wikipedia
  7. LPTRP
  8. Lake Point Tower
  9. Soar
  10. Emporis
  11. Chicago Architecture
  12. Wikipedia

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