Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle
General information
LocationChicago, Illinois
Address201 West Madison Street
Height609 m / 1,999 ft
Technical details
Floor count125
Floor area176,516 m² / 1.9 million ft²
Design and construction
ArchitectCesar Pelli

The Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle was a proposed 125-floor skyscraper intended for Chicago, Illinois, United States, by Lee Miglin and J. Paul Beitler and designed by architect César Pelli. The site of the proposed Skyneedle now is host to a parking garage. If it had been built when it was planned, the 1,999 ft (609 m) tall Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle would have been the tallest building in the world.[1]

The tower's plans were unveiled in 1988. The plans would falter due to the post-Gulf War market downturn.[1][2][3] Miglin-Beitler held hopes of reviving the project, but these were dashed by the murder of Lee Miglin.[3]

The tower would have risen 125 floors and 1,999 feet.[4] It would have had 1.9 million square feet of space (with 1.2 million being office space).[4] It was planned to cost $450 million to construct.[4] As of July 1990, it was tentatively planned to open in 1993.[4]

The firm had believed that the observation deck planned atop the tower, as well as the twelve floors of parking at its lower levels, would produce large amounts of revenue.[3][2][5] Plans also called for the building to include a two-story health club.[2] Office space in the building would have been marketed to smaller yet prestigious firms.[1] The goal was to attract law firms and other tenants desiring a high-status location, but needing only between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet of office space.[4]

There were a number of challenges facing the project before the post-Gulf War economic downturned ultimately doomed it. This included the earlier savings and loan crisis putting in place a stricter regulatory climate for banks and credit unions, which made many financial institutions wary of large real estate projects as investments.[4] Another challenge was that the Chicago real estate market, particularly in its downtown, was "soft". The downtown had an office space vacancy of 14%, which was on the rise. Additionally, millions of additional square feet of office space was already under construction in downtown Chicago, with millions more to open up with Sears moving out of the Sears Tower for a new suburban headquarters.[4] Another challenge that analysts predicted was that larger corporate tenants might avoid the building, as its narrow floorplates would require firms needing larger amounts of office space to locate their offices across several floors. This could prevent the building from attracting large "anchor" tenants.[4]

Across Wells Street from the site where the tower was to be built is another Pelli project previously developed by Miglin-Beitler, 181 West Madison Street,[5] which reportedly inspired the general design of the Skyneedle. Visually the upper floors of the Skyneedle do appear to be similar to a stretched 181 W Madison.[citation needed] Across Madison Street from the site where the tower was to be built is 200 West Madison, another building developed previously by Miglin-Beitler.[5]

César Pelli also designed the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The Petronas Towers have an obvious design reference, with the exception of having round floorplates as opposed to square ones.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c Kerch, Steve (May 11, 1997). "An Unbuilt Tower Is A Fine Legacy For Lee Miglin". Chicago Tribune.
  2. ^ a b c "Imagining the Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle as Willis' Big Brother". Curbed Chicago. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Ori, Ryan (19 March 2018). "Five decades after Chicago's greatest skyscraper boom, city aims high again". chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Risen, James (July 1, 1990). "Modern Don Quixotes Dream of World's Tellest Building in Chicago". Newspapers.com. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b c James, Frank (January 18, 1990). "Sky kings". Newspapers.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 October 2021.

Coordinates: 41°52′53.7″N 87°38′3.8″W / 41.881583°N 87.634389°W / 41.881583; -87.634389