Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Work Begins on the Wells-Wentworth Connector Road Within The 78

We've received some emails asking about activity at The 78 and it appears these perceptive readers were on to something (via Curbed):
With little fanfare, crews recently broke ground at “The 78,” a massive development replacing a 62-acre vacant lot along the Chicago River’s south branch.

Last week, crews operating half a dozen bulldozers were digging through patches of soil on the northwest side of the site adjacent to the river. The work is significant because it marks the initial phase of the construction of mixed-use megadevelopment as well as the final stage of the Wells-Wentworth Connector project.

In April, the city council approved Related Midwest’s $7 billion mixed-use megadevelopment—an ambitious plan to construct 13-million square feet of new residential, commercial, and retail space, a public-private research center, and a seven-acre crescent-shaped park.

As part of the project, the city approved a $700 million subsidy in the form of a tax increment financing (TIF) district to pay for infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood, including $364 million for the new Red Line station, the relocation of Metra tracks, and improvements on Clark Street.

The Wells-Wentworth Connector, the new road will directly connect the Loop and Chinatown by roadway for the first time, is another key part of The 78’s infrastructure. Related says it expects the work to be completed by the end of 2020.

The whole project has a long way to go, but this is a big step as it means there is finally progress coming to the vast open space.

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