Monday, November 23, 2015

Riverline Master Plan Announced and Approved; Has Us Dreaming About a Huge Riverwalk

The Chicago Architecture Blog has a big article on a huge plan being dubbed "Riverline".  While all the information isn't new, this is the first comprehensive announcement of the master plan as far as we've seen:
Downtown Chicago’s newest planned community can officially make the transition from paper to reality. Today the Chicago Plan Commission approved the construction of Riverline. 
Riverline is a joint development between CMK and Australian mega-developer Lend Lease south of Harrison Street, north of Roosevelt Road, and sandwiched between South Wells Street and the Chicago River. 
It was designed by Ralph Johnson at Perkins+Will and includes five skyscrapers ranging in height from 380 to 600 feet, three mid-rise buildings, and a number of townhouses. In total the city approved 2,699 residences, about 16,000 square feet of retail space, and lots of public open space and pathways.

To be honest, this announcement is tough to comprehend mostly because the numbers are insane.

While it's fun to dream, it seems unrealistic to think that this will play out as designed.  After all the entire plan wouldn't be expected to be completed until 2023 and 2025 (seems hard to imagine that this cycle of real estate development will continue that long - but what do we know).

Anyway, it does sound like the first part of the plan will be getting underway soon:
The preview sales program for the first phase offering is scheduled to launch in early 2016, with construction anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2016. Phase 1 is planned to include a 19‐story 278‐unit condominium building and 62 fee‐simple townhomes south of Taylor Street, a 29‐story 452‐unit multi‐ family building north of Polk Street, 31⁄2 acres of open space south of Harrison Street and the entire River Walk from Harrison Street to Roosevelt Road.
While it seems like it will be good to activate this relatively sleepy area of the Sloop, the major jewel in this crown is the announcement of 1/2 mile of river walk being built from Harrison to Roosevelt.

This is a pretty big deal assuming it actually happens.

Why?  Well it seems like it will be paving the way for the Sloop to have a full on river walk.  We know Ping Tom Park has a nice park/river walk.  We assume whatever comes of the Related Midwest plan south of Roosevelt along the river will also have a river walk.

Could we eventually be able to walk along the river (in an intentional manner) from Chinatown all the way to Harrison?

Could our South Loop river walk ever be connected to the Loop's river walk?

We have a long way to go, but we can dream, right?

What do you think?  Will we ever be able to walk from Chinatown along the river, uninterupted to Lake Michigan (via the Loop river walk)?  We're taking bets.  In the year 2040?

(Hat tip:  PO & WL!)

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