Chicago's $5B-$6B Lincoln Yards still up in the air
- Chicago residents had a chance last week during a meeting hosted by 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins to speak out on the proposed $5 billion to $6 billion mixed-use Lincoln Yards project, and developer Sterling Bay still has many obstacles to clear before winning city approval, according to The Chicago Tribune. The project as currently proposed would encompass more than 54 acres, with a probable expansion to 70 acres, and include 500 hotel rooms, 5,000 new residences, entertainment venues and a 20,000-seat soccer stadium.
- At issue are the usual suspects when it comes to large, urban developments — concern about increased traffic, impact on local businesses and additional strain on public transportation and local schools. Some ward residents also criticized Sterling Bay’s plan to own the development’s public spaces. Officials from the company said they had offered the land to the Chicago Park District but that the agency rejected it based on expected maintenance costs.
- Prior to the meeting, Sterling Bay redesigned some aspects of the 12 million-square-foot development, lowering the height of the tallest building from 800 feet to 650 feet and adding more than 7 acres of public space, the Tribune reported. Hopkins indicated that talks with Sterling Bay would continue, particularly around the park space and how to use $800 million in tax increment financing that is supposed to go toward new and upgraded infrastructure on and around the site.
The Lincoln Yards project, which could create 2,500 construction jobs during the first decade of building, reportedly was one of the developments included in Chicago’s bid for Amazon’s $5 billion second U.S. headquarters, which the internet retailing giant ended up splitting between Arlington, Virginia, and Long Island City in Queens, New York City.
Another Chicago alderman is holding steady against a different developer’s plans to build a $1 billion dual skyscraper project on the Chicago waterfront in the city’s 42nd Ward. Alderman Brendan Reilly, heeding his constituents’ objections, rejected Related Midwest’s proposal, despite the developer making some design changes. Reilly said the changes did not address local concerns regarding the planned hotel, public esplanade and traffic congestion around the main entrance. Such projects cannot move forward without an alderman’s approval.
Reilly also denied a 2017 proposal from Symmetry Development to build a 60-story mixed-use tower in the 42nd Ward based on its high density. The project would have seen the developer build 30,000 square feet of retail, 250 luxury condominiums, 120 timeshare units and 216 hotel rooms.
Reilly left the door open with both developers and said they could make changes to their projects and submit new proposals.
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