- The Chicago Plan Commission has voted to authorize the $700 million One Chicago Square, a mixed-use project that includes what will be the city's sixth tallest building when complete, according to Engineering News-Record.
- The taller of two skyscrapers will rise to 76 stories — 1,011 feet — and the other will max out at 49 stories. The project, according to JDL Development, will feature 75 luxury condominiums, 795 apartments, an organic grocery store, a 145,000-square-foot fitness center, two parks, three high-end retail stores and one restaurant. Curbed Chicago reported that the complex will have 865 parking spaces, plus 225 slots reserved for the church across the street. The taller building will also employ two mass dampers and high-strength concrete, typically used in skyscrapers to reduce vibration and sway.
- The project is expected to create between 1,500 and 2,000 construction jobs, and JDL has promised to use 50% Chicago residents, with 26% coming from minority-owned companies and 6% from women-owned firms. In addition to putting the previously exempt church parking lot back on the tax rolls, developers will pay more than $11 million into the city's affordable housing fund, more than $13 million into a neighborhood opportunity initiative and perform various infrastructure upgrades.
In March, Rider Levett Bucknall North America reported that there were 31 cranes working on residential projects in Chicago, the most of any city RLB North America tracked. However, in December, Dodge Data & Analytics projected that construction starts in Chicago for 2017 would top out at $12.5 billion, a 7% decrease from 2016. Dodge said the drop would be driven by an 11% fall in residential construction spending.
Foreign investors, through the EB-5 Visa program and through more traditional financing avenues, have played a role in Chicago real estate, but one of the biggest projects that benefited from such investments is about to undergo a major shift in ownership.
In June, Magellan Development Group and Wanda Commercial Properties of China announced that they had secured the city's biggest real estate financing deal ever, a $700 million loan from Ping An Bank in China, to fund construction of the $1 billion Vista Tower, which will be the city's third tallest building when complete. Last month, however, Bloomberg reported that Wanda owner Wang Jianlin is selling his 60% interest in the project as pressure from Chinese regulators builds for him at home, reportedly over how he financed his companies' foray into foreign luxury real estate.