Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Look at the Pros/Cons of the Sloop Sites Listed as Potential Spots for Amazon HQ2

Rendering of The 78 from Related Midwest

The Amazon HQ2 speculation is high.  All proposals were due to the tech behemoth last week and more and more details continue to emerge.

As reported, in the Chicago proposal ten different sites were posed for Amazon.  Three of the locations are in or very close to the Sloop (depending on your definition of the neighborhoods boundaries) - via Chicago Tribune:

The 78 
Related Midwest has not disclosed specific details of its plans to bring Amazon to a 62-acre site along the river in the South Loop. In May, the firm said it wants to build more than 10 million square feet of residential, office, retail and hotel space on the vacant land. The plan includes a half-mile-long riverwalk. An early name for the project is The 78, signifying plans to create the city's future 78th community area.
A proposed University of Illinois-led innovation center on the site, called Discovery Partners Institute, could have synergies with a tech-savvy office tenant. The huge riverfront parcel offers spectacular views of the Loop skyline. The developer's parent company, Related Cos., has experience with huge projects -- including Hudson Yards in New York.
The area is currently is viewed more as a residential market than an office destination. Extensive funding could be needed for transportation upgrades, including potential CTA Red Line and Metra train stations.

Burnham Lakefront plan from Farpoint Development

The Burnham Lakefront

A group of developers led by Farpoint Development and Draper & Kramer wants to bring residential and office towers to a sprawling parcel just south of McCormick Place and west of Lake Michigan, extending the downtown skyline south. The Bronzeville project includes the former Michael Reese Hospital site, as well as marshaling yards where trucks load materials for McCormick Place conventions.

Large sites near Lake Michigan are scarce. Some of the nation's best high-speed fiber-optic cable runs beneath the site -- a plus for technology companies.

It's in an undeveloped void between downtown and South Side neighborhoods. The development will likely require more transportation options. That includes a proposed new 31st Street station on the South Shore Line.

The Downtown Gateway District
Space would be combined in several nearby buildings, including the city's tallest, Willis Tower, and another of its largest, the old main post office. The long-vacant post office at Congress Parkway and the river is being redeveloped into 2.5 million square feet of offices, plus a food hall and other retail and a 4-acre rooftop park. The Union Station redevelopment and other buildings in the area are also part of the proposal.
Unlike ground-up developments, the existing buildings would easily meet Amazon's need for an initial 500,000 square feet of office space, as well as subsequent phases of growth. CTA and Metra trains are easily accessible.
Amazon would need to negotiate with several landlords for space. Existing buildings provide less flexibility in designing a campus to meet Amazon's needs.

If Amazon actually came to Chicago and chose one of these sites are neighborhood would be radically changed forever. 

This surely could be good and bad, but curious to hear thoughts.  Let us know.

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