For folks who follow Chicago construction closely, it's no secret that foundation work has already been underway on the 41-story residential tower known as The Reed at Southbank. But after scoring its full building permit earlier in the week, developer Lendlease made things official on Wednesday by holding a groundbreaking ceremony for its upcoming South Loop project.

"We completed caissons last week," Ted Weldon, executive general manager of development for Lendlease's Chicago office, told Urbanize. "The tower crane is up, and we thought it would be an appropriate time to announce our groundbreaking."

Courtesy Lendlease

Located at 234 W. Polk Street, The Reed is the second building of the 7-acre Southbank megadevelopment, which includes a 29-story rental tower called The Cooper and the 2-acre Southbank Park and riverwalk. Future phases call for three more residential buildings arranged in an "L" shape next to the neighboring Alta Grand apartments, which are not part of the Southbank development.

The Reed will eventually top out at 447 feet above the south branch of the Chicago River. The Perkins + Will-designed tower will deliver a mix of rental and for-sale residences. Floors 9 through 22 will feature 224 apartments, while levels 23 through 41 will house 216 condominiums priced from $400,000 to $1.4 million. Amenities include an indoor/outdoor fitness center, coworking spaces, lounge, sports simulator, and an eighth-floor pool deck with grilling stations, fire pits, and an outdoor kitchen. 

Perkins + Will, courtesy of Lendlease

Additionally, the existing Southbank riverwalk will be extended south below The Reed's parking podium to the River City Apartments, where a kayak launch and water taxi stop are planned. Lendlease will coordinate with the developers of other riverfront parcels such as Related Midwest and CMK to form a cohesive south branch riverwalk, according to Weldon. "The long-term plan is to connect Ping Tom Park all the way to Lake Street," Weldon said. 

The Reed will welcome its first residents in June 2023, according to Lendlease. "We're in a COVID environment so there can be supply chain issues. But so far nothing has impacted our schedule with The Reed," explained Weldon. "With our other development in Lakeshore East—Cirrus and Cascade—we actually finished a few months ahead of schedule." 

Jay Koziarz/Urbanize