Water Tower Place is a large urban, mixed-use development comprising a 758,000 sq ft (70,400 m2) shopping mall in a 74-story skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The mall is located at 835 North Michigan Avenue, along the Magnificent Mile. It is named after the nearby Chicago Water Tower, and is owned by affiliates of Brookfield Property Partners. As reported by the Chicago Suntimes,[2] Brookfield Property Partners handed the keys to the project back to their lender, MetLife, owing to numerous retail vacancies following the closing of Macy's and the impact of COVID and increasing crime along the Magnificent Mile.

Water Tower Place
Water Tower Place (its mall on the left and skyscraper on the right) with Chicago Avenue Pumping Station in the foreground and 875 North Michigan Avenue in the background
Location835 Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Opening date1976; 48 years ago (1976)
ManagementBrookfield Properties Retail Group
OwnerBrookfield Properties Retail Group (retail space)
Brookfield Property Partners (skyscraper portion)
ArchitectEdward D. Dart
No. of stores and services104[1]
No. of anchor tenants0
Total retail floor area729,000 square feet (67,726.3 m2)[1]
No. of floors74 in skyscraper, 7 in mall, 3 in American Girl, 8 in former Macy's
Public transit accessChicago "L":
at Chicago
Water Tower Place skyscraper
The Water Tower Place shopping mall at the base of the skyscraper, with Chicago Avenue Pumping Station in foreground



Originally planned in the late 1960s by the Mafco Company (the former shopping center development division of Marshall Field & Co.), the skyscraper was eventually built in 1975 by Urban Retail Properties, a company led by Philip Morris Klutznick and his son Thomas J. Klutznick. The project received a J.C. Nichols Prize from the Urban Land Institute in 1986. Modernist architect Edward D. Dart, of Loebl Schlossman Bennett and Dart, was the chief architect.[3]

The tower section is a 78-story, 859-foot (262 m) reinforced concrete slab, faced with gray marble, and is the twelfth tallest building in Chicago and the twenty-sixth tallest in the United States. When built, it was the tallest reinforced concrete building in the world. It contains a Ritz-Carlton hotel, condominiums and office space, and sits atop a block-long base containing an atrium-style retail mall that fronts on the Magnificent Mile.

Water Tower Place's opening changed the economic dynamics of the Magnificent Mile by bringing middle-class shops to what had been a street dominated by luxury retailers, tony hotels, and expensive apartments. It shifted downtown Chicago's retail center of gravity north from State Street to North Michigan Avenue.

The 360 condo units in the tower were designed in 1974. Richard A. Meyers Realty, Inc., was the contracted sales and marketing consultant. In a recessionary market, the company was given the challenge of demonstrating the product and obtaining hard contracts before construction began. This was a challenging assignment in the recessionary climate of 1974–1976.[citation needed]

A detailed product research study was conducted by Gary S. Meyers, which included examining on a room-by-room basis over luxury 100 high-rise condominiums in the Chicago metropolitan area and a like number around the nation. The product analysis was then compared with sales velocities of other projects to determine buyer needs and wants and their respective acceptable price points. The net result was a mathematically designed housing product that allowed for specific space allocation for each room in each unit. The results were efficient units, where each room had a competitive advantage.[citation needed]

After the product was designed, Richard A. Meyers Realty, Inc. and Urban Investment and Development took an entire floor in the Blair Building, 645 N. Michigan Avenue, and built several full-scale condominium units, several blocks away from the site. This combined marketing approach produced sales of over 100 units before the building was ready for occupancy, a pace that surpassed units ready for occupancy in competing buildings during the same period.

In 2001, a program of refurbishments was begun, including enclosing the exterior arcade along Michigan and adding a loading dock in the middle of the block for additional retail space. Also included were updates to the escalators and fountains leading into the mall from North Michigan Avenue lobby, as well as enhancements to the sidewalk areas, the mall's exterior facades, and department store entrances. Some of the changes included the addition of exterior glass walls and display areas for the department stores, some small specialty retail space in the renovated lobby area, and large exterior rounded, corner glass bay windows and lighted "fins" on the North Michigan Avenue and side street exterior walls of the mall. These last additions broke up the boxy nature of the original architecture and added some dimension and scale to the monolithic marble walls. The interior fountain between the escalators leading from the North Michigan Avenue lobby were also updated with a tiered "pop jet" fountain with cascading waterfalls and balls of water, controlled by computer-based choreography.

The Rouse Company acquired the center in 2002 during the breakup of the then Dutch-owned Urban Shopping Centers. In 2008, a 3-story American Girl Store replaced Lord & Taylor, which closed in spring of 2007.[4]

Oprah Winfrey acquired four condominium units in the building. The condos were sold in 2015 and 2016 for slightly more than what she paid.[5][6]

On August 14, 2020, WGN-TV announced Macy's would be leaving, although they declined to give a comment. Then in September 2020, Macy's reopened their store and all operations will continue. On January 5, 2021, it was announced that Macy's would be closing as part of a plan to close 46 stores nationwide. The store officially closed its doors on March 21, 2021.[7] This was a part of the early 2021 downsizing by Macy's Inc.

In October 2023, it was reported that the top five floors of the shopping mall were for sale, for conversion to office space. The building's owners plan to downsize the mall to only the first three floors of the podium structure.[8]

The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago


The Ritz-Carlton Chicago is a 435-room hotel at Water Tower Place.[9]

The builders of Water Tower Place acquired the rights to use the Ritz-Carlton name and logo when they opened a hotel in the tower in 1975. This was before the modern Ritz-Carlton chain was established in the mid-1980s, using the same name and logo, which have been around since the early 20th century, in use at various hotels. Also under terms of the agreement, no other hotel was permitted to use the Ritz-Carlton name in the Chicago area while the agreement was still in effect, meaning that the modern Ritz-Carlton chain was never able to operate a hotel in Chicago, only a nearby condominium, which they built in 2012.

So that their hotel would be part of a chain, the owners of Water Tower Place contracted Four Seasons Hotels to manage the hotel in 1977. It was not part of the global Ritz-Carlton chain, despite its name and use of the lion logo. In 1985 the number of guest rooms was reduced to 435.

On August 1, 2015, The Ritz Carlton Chicago ceased being a Four Seasons property and converted management and operation to Sage Hospitality of Denver, operated as a full member of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC, and participating in and marketed with the rest of The Ritz-Carlton properties.[10]

In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked the hotel as the sixth-best hotel in Illinois.[11]

Shopping center

The mall in the Water Tower Place has eight levels of shops.

When the mall opened, its anchor stores were Marshall Field's and Lord & Taylor. Marshall Field's was converted to Macy's in 2006.[12] Lord & Taylor closed in 2007.[13] Macy's closed in 2021.[14]

The eight-level mall has nearly 100 shops, a live theatre and several restaurants, arranged around a chrome-and-glass atrium with glass elevators. It was one of the first vertical malls in the world, although along North Michigan Avenue it has been joined by The Shops at North Bridge and the Avenue Atrium (better known as 900 North Michigan), both of which contain higher end retail mixes.[citation needed]

Remaining stores include Akira, American Girl, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath and Body Works, Chico's, Eileen Fisher, Express, Finish Line, Inc., Forever 21, Hollister Co., J. Jill, Lacoste, Lego, Sephora, Sunglasses Hut and White House Black Market.

In October 2023, it was reported that the top five floors of the shopping mall were for sale, for conversion to office space. The building's owners plan to downsize the mall to only the first three floors of the podium structure.[15]



Residents of Water Tower Place are zoned to schools in the Chicago Public Schools.[16][17]

Position in Chicago's skyline

 311 South WackerWillis TowerChicago Board of Trade Building111 South WackerAT&T Corporate CenterKluczynski Federal Building333 South WabashChase TowerThree First National PlazaMid-Continental PlazaRichard J. Daley CenterChicago Title and Trust Center77 West WackerPittsfield BuildingLeo Burnett BuildingThe Heritage at Millennium ParkCrain Communications BuildingIBM PlazaOne Prudential PlazaTwo Prudential PlazaAon CenterBlue Cross and Blue Shield Tower340 on the ParkPark TowerOlympia Centre900 North Michigan875 North Michigan AvenueWater Tower PlaceHarbor PointThe ParkshoreNorth Pier ApartmentsLake Point TowerJay Pritzker PavilionBuckingham FountainLake MichiganLake MichiganLake Michigan

Bus connections



  • 3 King Drive [18]
  • 26 South Shore Express [19]
  • 66 Chicago [20]
  • 125 Water Tower Express [21]
  • 143 Stockton/Michigan Express [22]
  • 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express [23]
  • 147 Outer Drive Express [24]
  • 148 Clarendon/Michigan Express [25]
  • 151 Sheridan [26]
  • 157 Streeterville/Taylor [27]

See also



  1. ^ a b "Water Tower Place". Brookfield Properties Retail Group.
  2. ^ "Water Tower Place owner gives up the property". Chicago Sun-Times. 2022-04-06. Retrieved 2022-10-10.
  3. ^ Anonymous (December 1999). "Edward D. Dart (1922-1975) Collection, 1841-1993 (bulk 1940-1993)". Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries the Art Institute of Chicago. Accession Number: 1996.2. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ reporter, Sandra Jones, Tribune staff (5 October 2006). "Lord & Taylor to leave city". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2021-03-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Goldsborough, Bob (November 20, 2015). "Oprah Winfrey sells Water Tower condo for $4.6 million". Chicago Tribune.
  6. ^ Goldsborough, Bob (December 1, 2016). "Former Oprah Winfrey unit in Water Tower Place is rehabbed, sold for $3.6 million". Chicago Tribune.
  7. ^ Roeder, David (Jan 5, 2021). "Macy's confirms its closure at Water Tower Place". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  8. ^ https://www.costar.com/article/1772538569/top-five-floors-of-water-tower-place-mall-in-chicago-go-up-for-sale-in-conversion
  9. ^ "Ritz-Carlton Chicago". Ritz-Carlton5.
  10. ^ Ritz-Carlton Chicago Finally a Full Participant In The Ritz-Carlton Hotel System August 3, 2015
  11. ^ Rackl, Lori (February 6, 2018). "2 of the top 3 U.S. hotels are in Chicago, report says". Chicago Tribune.
  12. ^ "The Magnificent Mile is 'not invincible.' Water Tower Place faces its biggest challenge since the North Michigan Avenue mall opened". Chicago Tribune. 8 January 2021.
  13. ^ "On Chicago's Magnificent Mile, stores struggle amid pandemic | Arkansas Democrat Gazette". 17 January 2021.
  14. ^ "The Magnificent Mile is 'not invincible.' Water Tower Place faces its biggest challenge since the North Michigan Avenue mall opened". Chicago Tribune. 8 January 2021.
  15. ^ https://www.costar.com/article/1772538569/top-five-floors-of-water-tower-place-mall-in-chicago-go-up-for-sale-in-conversion
  16. ^ "Near North/West/Central Elementary Schools Archived 2013-05-17 at the Wayback Machine." Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved on September 17, 2009.
  17. ^ "West/Central/South High Schools Archived 2010-03-31 at the Wayback Machine." Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved on September 17, 2009.
  18. ^ "3 King Drive (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  19. ^ "26 South Shore Express (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  20. ^ "66 Chicago (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  21. ^ "125 Water Tower Express (Bus Route Info) - CTA". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  22. ^ "143 Stockton/Michigan Express (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  23. ^ "146 Inner Drive/Michigan Exp. (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  24. ^ "147 Outer Drive Express (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  25. ^ "148 Clarendon/Michigan Express (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  26. ^ "151 Sheridan (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.
  27. ^ "157 Streeterville/Taylor (Bus Route Info)". CTA. Retrieved Apr 5, 2021.

41°53′52.5″N 87°37′20.5″W / 41.897917°N 87.622361°W / 41.897917; -87.622361