Monday, May 6, 2019

Blair Kamin Weighs In On Massive One Central Development

The massive $20 billion development - One Central - that is trying to be built over the train tracks west of Lake Shore Drive and Soldier Field has been in the news a lot lately.  Last week, it was reported that the developer was seeking a huge sum to get the project kick-started:
The developer wants the General Assembly to fund a chunk of the plan’s $3.8 billion first phase by the end of May — only four weeks after he announced that he would seek state taxpayers’ support rather than the controversial tax increment financing that’s backing Lincoln Yards.
Beyond this, our favorite architecture critic, Blair Kamin, is weighing in on the concept.  While he understands the potential, he calls out a variety of potential issues to consider such as questions whether or not the new development will actually improve the connection from the Sloop to the lake.

He ends the column with a warning:
These urban design shortcomings should not be brushed off as mere aesthetic issues. In these plans, the physical and the fiscal are intricately intertwined. If One Central fails to connect with the city around it and doesn’t become a lively place, it won’t produce the promised bonanza of tax revenue.
It still seems unlikely in our mind that this will happen, but after last week there is a little more momentum behind One Central.

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