Although some residents have voiced displeasure with the growth around these universities and colleges, we feel that they're good for the neighborhood in various ways. One way that was recently validated by a report commissioned by the Chicago Loop Alliance was spending:
Twenty-four higher education institutions in Chicago’s Loop, through their employees, students and own expenditures, generate more than $4 billion in regional economic activity annually, including at least $60 million in student retail purchases, according to the 2009 Higher Education Economic Impact Report and Student Survey Update released Nov. 23.Although this area was defined as the Chicago River on the north and west, the study also includes parts of the South Loop as it extends south to Roosevelt and east to Lake Shore Drive. Love them or hate them, students are an important part of our neighborhood. Without them our retail situation would most certainly be different (and probably much worse).
Commissioned by the Chicago Loop Alliance ( CLA ), with student survey data compiled by researchers at DePaul, the study shows that the Loop’s higher education sector is a vital economic engine that contributes to the growth and overall health of the economy in the Chicago region. The findings update and expand upon research released by CLA last June and in 2004.
With that in mind it's a good sign that Roosevelt University just announced that it will move forward with a new tower on the 400 block of South Wabash Avenue (see old Sloopin post on this subject). The building will serve a variety of purposes for the University and is currently planned to open in 2012. This is a block north of what we consider the Sloop, but regardless it will still impact the area:
It's definitely an interesting building.
Construction on the 32-story, $110 million building is set to begin in February on the site of the old Herman Crown Center in the 400 block of South Wabash Avenue. The groundbreaking will begin once demolition of the old building is complete, with the center itself slated to open in January 2012, officials said.
The state-of-the-art building, which will house classrooms, laboratories, a student recreation center and residence suites for more than 600 students, will be the university's first newly constructed building in the school's history, officials said.
The 469-foot-tall building will also be constructed as a "green" building and showcase a glass exterior on three sides, drawing in natural light and cutting energy costs. The new building, school officials said, would be the sixth-largest university building in the world and second in the U.S. behind the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.
In other higher education development, Columbia College's media production center (at 16th and State) looks to be nearing completion. Although we don't have a picture of the actual site, you will have to take our word for it...it's also an interesting building. Here is a sketch of how it is supposed to look. Although we didn't see it illuminated like the picture below, it looks very similar in our opinion:
old Sloopin post.