|Large untamed green area to be developed by Related Midwest (via Chicago Tribune)|
The last large undeveloped swath of green space in downtown Chicago could finally be developed into a robust neighborhood linking the South Loop and Chinatown, thanks to a deal signed this week.
Related Midwest has taken part ownership of 62 acres southwest of Clark Street and Roosevelt Road, and will be the lead developer of a multibillion-dollar joint venture that promises to reshape Chicago's skyline and fill what has been described as a "hole in the center of Chicago."
The scale of the project, which could include thousands of homes, millions of square feet of office space and stores, is staggering. Though the site is currently a wilderness inaccessible by road and unserved by sewers or other city services, satellite images reveal it to be trumped only by Grant Park as an expanse of open downtown land.
It comes with a checkered history: Once owned by disgraced and convicted power broker Tony Rezko, it was sold in 2007 to Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holding. GMH is owned by Iraqi-born British businessman Nadhmi Auchi, who was convicted in 2003 in France in a corruption scandal. GMH will be a partner with Related Midwest in the joint venture.
This is a big project and according to the article could take at least 15 years to complete. In our opinion that seems ambitious.
One thing the development has going for it, is the developer:
Related Midwest president Curt Bailey said his company — Related is behind the 16-skyscraper, 14-acre Hudson Yards development in Manhattan and has completed a number of high-profile Chicago buildings — is "not in the habit of making small plans" and has the chops to see the project through.The city also will have to step up to help get this one going - including the much discussed Wells-Wentworth connector.
We'll be very curious to see how this one plays out.
(Hat tip: RA, CH, SC!)