Even as city officials weigh other proposed megadevelopment deals in and near downtown, a Wisconsin developer who played a key role in building Ford Field in Detroit and rebuilding Lambeau Field in Green Bay is pitching another: a multibillion-dollar plan to deck over Metra Electric rail tracks west of Soldier Field to build a mix of residential, office and retail space.
Several sources close to the matter say a partnership headed by Wisconsin executive Bob Dunn has briefed City Hall and other officials on plans, set to be officially unveiled next month, to build over 34 acres of Metra Electric tracks and storage facilities just west of South Lake Shore Drive, from McFetridge Drive south to roughly 20th Street.
Air rights to build over the tracks were acquired more than 20 years ago by developer Gerald Fogelson, who built the huge Central Station residential complex just to the north, south and east of Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue. Fogelson had hoped to develop the adjacent air-rights property himself as a sort of a Central Station 2.0, and as late as 2015 he was looking for a partner, describing then a $3 billion long-term plan with 3,000 apartments and 500 hotel rooms.
As the Crain's article notes, this isn't the first time plans like these have been floated.
While it would be great to have something cover-up the train tracks and presumably provide more/better access to Soldier Field and the Museum Campus, it seems like a highly challenging project - especially given all the other stuff popping up in the Sloop and city.
The article says that Alderman Dowell is planning to present the proposal at a public meeting on March 13th. So we will see how far a long this thing is. Stay tuned.