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01 Apr 2019

One Central: Another megaproject proposal for Chicago

Construction Dive

Dive Brief:
A team led by Landmark Development has proposed the mixed-use One Central project, a massive transit-oriented redevelopment of the 34-acre site next to Soldier Field in Chicago.
The project, reported Curbed, would see construction of a 50-foot deck over an existing rail yard on top of which high-rises, 15 acres of public space and a landscaped pedestrian bridge to the lakefront would be built. The development would be high-density but would experience less traffic and noise because of the elimination of vehicles from 70% of the project area in favor of mass transit. 
The project could take as long as 15 years to build out but still has many city approvals to navigate before construction can commence.

Dive Insight:
The approval process for projects like this in Chicago can be brutal and just because a development promises plenty of jobs and an economic boost for the city, success is in no way assured. Sometimes winning the nod from aldermen and the city council means big compromises on the part of developers.

Sterling Bay had to agree to a significant redesign of its $6 billion Lincoln Yards project to get to its current status, only a few steps away from final approval. Thus far, Sterling Bay has eliminated a planned 18,000-seat soccer stadium; increased park space by 40%; replaced a Live Nation entertainment district with a scattering of small venues; reduced density; decreased building heights; and agreed to foot the bill for additional onsite and offsite infrastructure. 

Brian Hopkins, in his position as alderman of Chicago’s 2nd Ward, spearheaded the campaign to get Sterling Bay to change its design. The city’s aldermen wield a considerable amount of power and can veto developments seeking approval in their districts. 

Brendan Reilly, as alderman of Chicago's 42nd Ward, has been able to stop more than a few projects from moving forward, including a 60-story mixed-use tower proposed by Symmetry Development. Reilly was also key in killing Related Midwest’s plans for a dual-tower project on the Chicago waterfront, but the developer has had better luck with its proposal for The 78.  

Last month, Related won tax increment financing (TIF) district approval for the $7 billion, 62-acre development, which leaves only the final city approvals. The 141-acre TIF could generate as much as $551 million for project infrastructure like a new $365 million transit station, an $85 million track realignment and $100 million of street and seawall improvements. 

Source: Construction Dive 


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