Projects to watch: Here are the biggest Chicago developments in the works

Billions of dollars in development are in the pipeline in the city, from the South Loop to the North Branch corridor and all across Downtown

Chicago /
Nov.November 20, 2018 12:00 PM

Rendering of The 78 (Credit: Related Midwest) 

When city planners gave Related Midwest last week the first official approval to start work on The 78, the clock started on one of the biggest proposed developments in Chicago in recent history.

But the Chicago-based developer is not the only one thinking big in the city right now. A number of projects are in the works across the city that will transform the city’s skyline and create entire new neighborhoods from the South Loop to the North Side.

Some of the biggest developers in the market right now have their hands in these transformational efforts, building new residential towers that will bracket all ends of the skyline, office buildings and mixed-use projects alike.

Here are some of the major projects underway in Chicago that could shape the city’s development landscape for years — or decades — to come.

The 78 | Related Midwest

Rendering of The 78 (Credit: Related Midwest)

This $7 billion, neighborhood-sized development could include 13 million square feet of office, hotel and residential space on a 62-acre parcel in the South Loop. Related Midwest won key city approval for the project last week, with work on infrastructure improvements starting within the next couple of months. The site was toured by Amazon officials and was in the running to house the company’s second North American headquarters before the e-commerce giant passed on Chicago.

Lincoln Yards | Sterling Bay

Sterling Bay’s Andy Gloor and a rendering of of Lincoln Yards (Credit: Sterling Bay)

Sterling Bay’s $6 billion mega-project on the North Branch of the Chicago River would include residential, retail, office and a 20,000-seat soccer stadium. The developer also inked a deal with concert promoter Live Nation, with plans for as many as five entertainment venues on the site. Sterling Bay is currently going through the aldermanic approval process, and hundreds of neighbors turned out last week for a meeting on a proposed new tax increment financing district for the area.

Lakeshore East | Magellan Development and Lendlease

The I, J and K/L residential buildings, James Loewenberg and Joel Carlins

The city in October gave initial approval for four new buildings in the Lakeshore East neighborhood that would include 2,340 residential units, 570 hotel rooms and 44,000 square feet of retail space. One building will include a 600-foot-tall hotel and residential tower with 14,000 square feet of retail. Three other towers will rise 85, 50 and 40 stories on the eastern edge of the neighborhood and will include 1,700 residences with 30,000 square feet of retail space.

400 Lake Shore Drive | Related Midwest

Related Midwest plans two towers at 400 North Lake Shore Drive

Plans for the ill-fated Spire site were unveiled by Related Midwest in May, with the firm proposing a pair of twisting, white towers with a combined 850 residences and 175 hotel rooms. The taller building would stretch 1,100 feet into the sky. The plan was dealt a blow in October when Ald. Brendan Reilly rejected it, saying Related did not properly address neighbor concerns. Related CEO Curt Bailey last week said his team is working on a revised plan for the project, though it has not yet been made public.

Tribune Tower | CIM Group and Golub & Company

Tribune Tower at 435 North Michigan Avenue, Golub & Company’s Michael Newman, and CIM Group’s Shaul Kuba (Credit: CIM Group and Golub & Company)

Chicago’s second tallest building will rise next to one of its first iconic skyscrapers. Chicago-based Golub and Los Angeles-based CIM have begun work on the redevelopment of the historic Tribune Tower into 163 condominiums. Plans also call for a 1,422-foot mixed-use skyscraper that will be built on the former Chicago Tribune parking lot to the east of the tower.

Southbank | Lendlease

Rendering of Southbank (Credit: Perkins + Will)

Lendlease’s $1.2 billion plan for this riverfront property in the South Loop includes as many as 2,700 residential units and a riverwalk and park. The first phase of the development is The Cooper at Southbank, a 29-story, 452-unit building. The development was part of a larger joint project between Lendlease and CMK Companies before they dissolved the venture and split the site between them.

Riverline | CMK Companies

This 8-acre patch next to the Southbank development will include more than 1,000 residences in an $800 million project. CMK will also contribute a riverfront park and riverwalk.

Vista Tower | Magellan Development and Dalian Wanda Group

Vista Tower at 363 East Wacker Drive (Credit: Wikipedia)

Work is progressing at Magellan and Wanda’s Vista Tower, the 400-unit residential and 200-room hotel tower rising in Lakeshore East, though Wanda is trying to sell off its stake in the project. Once completed, the 101-story, Jeanine Gang-designed tower will be the third-tallest in the city and will feature a number of unique amenities including Tesla car-sharing program for residents.

Wolf Point Plaza | Hines Interests and the Kennedy Family

Wolf Point Plaza (Credit: Wolf Point West)

The developers plan three new towers at the confluence of the three branches of the Chicago River. The first building — the 509-unit Wolf Point West rental tower — was delivered last year, and work is progressing on the second, a 60-story tower with 698 residences. Plans call for a third building to rise 950 feet and include both office space and residences. It’s one of a growing number of large developments proposed along the Chicago River.

Southbridge | McCaffrey Interests and The Community Builders

Left to right: Bart Mitchell and Dan McCaffrey with renderings of “Southbridge” redevelopment (left) and a rendering of 105 N May Street (right) (Credit: McCaffrey Inc and The Community Builders)

Chicago-based McCaffrey and Boston-based Community Builders are planning to turn this former public housing site into a sprawling mixed-use complex. Plans call for 770 apartments, 107 townhomes and 60,000 square feet of retail space. The two developers were chosen in 2015 by the city to redevelop the site where 11 public housing buildings were demolished between 2009 and 2011.

One Bennett Park | Related Midwest

One Bennett Park and Robert A.M. Stern (Credit: Getty Images)

Nearing completion, this 70-story Lakeshore East tower will soon be the tallest all-residential building in the city. Featuring 69 condos and 279 apartments, One Bennett Park is seeking to set a new standard in luxurious rental living, including some eye-catching amenities. The building is Robert A.M. Stern’s first tower project in Chicago.

NEMA Chicago | Crescent Heights

1212 South Michigan Avenue (Credit: Crescent Heights)

Miami-based Crescent Heights is building a 76-story, 800-unit residential tower at the south end of Grant Park. While building NEMA, Crescent Heights sold a 332-unit South Loop residential tower and a 344-unit tower at 1212 South Michigan Avenue.

1000M | Time Equities, JK Equities and Oak Capitals

1000M at 1000 South Michigan Avenue

Only a couple blocks away from NEMA Chicago will be 1000M, or 1000 South Michigan Avenue. Developed by Time Equities, JK Equities and Oak Capital, the 74-story tower will contain 323 luxury condos. Work has not yet started, but the building could be completed by 2022, according to Curbed.

Union Station | Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Partners

Riverside CEO John O’Donnell and renderings of the new Union Station plans (Credit: Riverside Investment & Development)

Riverside and Convexity’s redevelopment of Union Station calls for 400 hotel rooms in the historic train depot plus a new 1.5-million square foot office building on the current site of a parking garage. The developers scrapped a plan to build a massive addition to the historic train station, instead opting for single-story of penthouse hotel rooms on top of the station. They will also add 175,000 square feet of office, retail and civic space to the station.

110 North Wacker | Riverside Investment & Development and Howard Hughes Corporation

John O’Donnell, David R. Weinreb and 110 North Wacker Drive

The only all-office development on this list, the 56-story tower is under construction along the Chicago River on the former site of the GGP headquarters It will be anchored by Bank of America, which signed a 500,000 square-foot lease in the building. Riverside last year completed the nearby 54-story office tower at 150 North Riverside Plaza.

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