Right now, there are 13 major Chicago megadevelopments in the works. Some are already under construction, while others remain long-term visions for the future. Here’s a look at the large, multiphase projects that will reshape the fabric of the city in the decades to come.
Few Chicago developments in recent memory have received as much attention as Lincoln Yards: a $6 billion plan to turn more than 55 acres of industrial riverfront real estate between Lincoln Park and Bucktown into a sprawling mixed-use campus.
Here, developer Sterling Bay envisions 14.5 million-square-feet of high-rise buildings supporting 23,000 full-time jobs and 6,000 residential units as well as 21 acres of parkland, three new bridges, and an extension of The 606 trail. To help pay for the public infrastructure improvements, the company has a deal with the city to receive $1.3 billion in controversial tax increment financing (TIF).
Sterling Bay is currently working to reverse the environmental damage caused during more than a century of use by steel mills, tanneries, recyclers, and other heavy industries that once occupied the site. The developer recently installed new soccer fields on the site’s western edge. The entire Lincoln Yards development is expected to take roughly ten years to complete.
This third riverfront megadevelopment is located roughly halfway between Lincoln Yards and The 78, on 30 acres of Tribune Media-owned land in River West. Known as the River District, the 8.5 million-square-foot project has zoning approval for up to 14 mixed-use buildings supporting an estimated 4,100 residential units and 19,000 jobs.
Phase one of the River District calls for 1,500 residential units in two high-rises between Grand Avenue and the Ohio-Ontario feeder ramp. Although Tribune Media said that construction could begin by 2020, the company is currently seeking a buyer or joint venture partner for its River West megaproject.
Even though its developers Lendlease and CMK agreed to part ways and split their $2 billion project in half, the Riverline and Southbank developments will still transform 14 acres of vacant land along the Chicago River between Harrison Street and Roosevelt Road.
The plan, created by architecture firm Perkins+Will, calls for 3,700 residences spread across eight waterfront towers and blocks of townhouses. It includes new commercial retail spaces, a riverwalk, and water taxi stops.
So far only one building, a high-rise apartment tower known as the Cooper at Southbank, has been completed. Crews recently wrapped up work on a new riverwalk segment south of Harrison Street and a publicly accessible open space called Southbank Park.
Located at the confluence of the Chicago River’s main, south, and north branches, Wolf Point is among the city’s most prominent development sites. After spending decades as a parking lot, the high-profile peninsula will eventually host a trio of glassy skyscrapers.
The 485-foot Wolf Point West apartment tower opened in 2016 and will soon be joined by the 660-foot Wolf Point East rental tower, currently under construction next door. The final piece of the megadevelopment, an 813-foot-tall Salesforce-anchored office skyscraper, is on track to break ground in 2020 and open in early 2023.
After decades of gradually welcoming more than a dozen mixed-use buildings, downtown’s 28-acre masterplanned Lakeshore East community is just five towers away from being complete. The most visible addition is Jeanne Gang’s Vista Tower which recently topped off at 1,191 feet on its way to a spring 2020 completion date.
The supertall hotel and residential tower will eventually be joined by a 47-story condo building known as Cirrus and a 37-story apartment tower called Cascade, which simultaneously broke ground in the summer. Nearby, zoning is in place for an 80-story residential building at Parcel I. Magellan Development’s last piece of the Lakeshore East puzzle is a 650-foot-tall combination apartment and hotel tower proposed for Parcel
While the redevelopment of Chicago’s abandoned Old Post Office spans only a single building, the project is nonetheless massive. In fact, the plan to transform the 2.8 million-square-foot structure into brand new office space is the nation’s single largest adaptive reuse project.
Developer 601W Companies acquired the property from late British billionaire Bill Davies in 2016 and work to bring the old building back to life began shortly thereafter. The Gensler-designed redo includes a renovation of the Art Deco lobby and the creation of tenant amenities like a fitness center, food court, riverwalk, and a huge rooftop deck.Still to come…
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