Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Crain's: Residential developers have big plans (again) for South Loop

If you're a loyal reader of Sloopin, this real estate trend probably doesn't come as a surprise (see Sloopin yearend trend on the topic), but nonetheless it's always worth noting when one of the larger media outlets in the city/region writes about it.  

In an article that feels reminiscent of the build-baby-build 00's Crains touches on a myriad of current and future projects that could change the neighborhood as we know it.  As a starter, the image from them below touches on all the buildings mentioned in the article:  

The article opens with some high optimism for the Sloop:
It's back to the future in the South Loop, as developers engage in a land rush reminiscent of the heady years before the recession. 
A recent flurry of dealmaking could bring new high-rises with thousands of apartments and condominiums to the east bank of the Chicago River just south of downtown. Leading the charge is Chicago-based residential developer CMK, which has acquired one vacant riverside parcel and is buying two others between Congress Parkway and Roosevelt Road, collectively one of the biggest tracts of undeveloped land within walking distance of the Loop. 
The deals reflect a growing optimism among developers that the apartment boom is far from over and the condo market's comeback is kicking into a higher gear.

It goes on to talk about all of the projects going on and even resurfaces the clybourn corridor talk again, calling this "clybourn south":
Developers have coveted the area for a long time, but only a few major projects got off the ground during the last boom. The biggest was the Roosevelt Collection, an apartment-retail complex with a 14-screen movie theater. Though it ran into loan trouble after the bust, the project has rebounded and become a key neighborhood amenity, boosting Roosevelt Road's status as a shopping strip on par with North and Clybourn avenues on the North Side. “It's now Clybourn South,” DeVries says.

Again, this isn't new talk, but just nice to see some optimism for the area.

Probably the most interesting thing in the article was an update on the infamous "Rzeko Lot":
Beyond the fate of the Old Post Office across the river, the biggest question for the neighborhood is what will happen to a vacant 62-acre riverside property just south of Roosevelt Road. During the boom, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a key fundraiser for imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, proposed a shopping center and as many as 4,600 homes for the property. That plan died after a Rezko venture sold the site to General Mediterranean Holding, a Luxembourg-based conglomerate owned by British billionaire Nadhmi Auchi.  
GMH has not unveiled plans for the property, testing the patience of city officials, who want the site developed. Last April, the City Council gave the city the authority to buy the site, through eminent domain if necessary, with the hope of prodding GMH into action.  
“We need to put some pressure on the owner,” says Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, whose ward includes the neighborhood.  
“We stand ready to work with the city of Chicago on an appropriate development for the property and the neighborhood,” GMH spokesman Ryan McLaughlin says.
That gigantic swath of land probably has the most opportunity to drastically change the face of the neighborhood (unless a development over the train tracks just west of Lake Shore Drive gets going).

It's clear the city sees this as an important piece to the evolution of the South Loop.  Remember they also have plans to create the Wentworth/Wells connector which would provide access to this land.

Moral of the story is there is a ton of development going on in the neighborhood.  What does everyone think?  Good?  Bad?  Wait and see?

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