Thursday, March 14, 2019

New Transit Center & Huge High-Rises Proposed for Air Rights Over Train Tracks West of Soldier Field

Wowsa!  (via Chicago Tribune):
Chicago’s skyline could extend all the way south to McCormick Place, under a multibillion-dollar development plan unveiled Wednesday that would create a row of gleaming skyscrapers atop a massive new transit center.

The preliminary plan, led by Wisconsin-based developer Bob Dunn, envisions millions of square feet of high-rises constructed on a platform covering Metra tracks above the level of Lake Shore Drive. The site runs just west of Lake Shore Drive between the Field Museum and McCormick.

The centerpiece of the development would be a transit center southwest of Soldier Field, across Lake Shore Drive. It would link Metra, CTA and Amtrak trains, as well as a wheeled tram route, topped by a few floors of restaurant, retail and entertainment space.

Skyscrapers would be built around and atop the transit center.
The amazing thing about this proposal is how it's ambition sits within a crowded field of multi-billion dollar developments:
Chicago is already a decade into a development boom, with several planned megadevelopments along the Chicago River, such as Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards and Related Midwest’s The 78, much closer to the starting line. It’s unclear how many multibillion-dollar projects the commercial real estate market can support, or whether the economy will hold up long enough for at least some of them to be completed in the current cycle.

Adding to the complexity is the pending exit of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and uncertainty about the next mayor’s interest in such large-scale development.
In our estimation, it's hard to see how this becomes a reality for all the reasons stated in the blurb above.  It just doesn't feel like Chicago - let alone the Sloop - has enough demand for something like this.

That being said, the one thing this proposal has that none of the others do is an amazing piece of land (or should we say air).  To build this close to Soldier Field and museum campus would provide unrivaled "neighborhood amenities".

Many of us already love the Sloop because of our proximity to these cultural treasures, imagine if there was more development even closer.

Probably the most interesting component of the whole plan is the transit center.  This would like be a critical component for the development to move forward.  To have this much development would require easier access for the broader swatch of the city.  That's why it makes sense that every train line in the metropolitan area of Chicago is mentioned as being incorporated to the plan.

So...what do you think?  What percent chance do you give this one to be built?

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