Real Estate: Stretching the Skyline

Prompted by the pressure of soaring land costs and the national appetite for prime locations, builders lately have been stretching the skyline of U.S. cities to new altitudes. From San Francisco to Boston, apartment and commercial projects are growing to an unprecedented size and complexity for their areas. In congested downtown Chicago, a 100-story hive of offices, stores, apartments, restaurants and parking space is climbing toward completion next year. For a few years, the $95 million John Hancock Center will be the world's second-tallest (1,107 ft.) building, after Manhattan's Empire State...