The Real Deal Chicago

Tribune Media putting 30-acre section of River District mega-development up for sale

The city approved a $2.5B plan for the property last year
By Alex Nitkin | February 15, 2019 02:30PM

Renderings of the River District (Credit: Twitter)

Four months after Tribune Media scored city approval to begin building its 30-acre “River District” mega-development in River West, the company is putting the site up for sale.

Tribune Media hired Eastdil Secured to market the property, which has an official address of 777 West Chicago Avenue but stretches along the west bank of the North Branch of the Chicago River between Chicago and Grand avenues, according to a company spokesperson.

Murray McQueen, president of the company’s real estate wing, said in a statement he is “excited to take the next step” in bringing the $2.5 billion project to fruition.

In October, Tribune Media got the go-ahead from the Chicago Plan Commission to develop up to 14 buildings totaling some 9 million square feet of office and retail space with as many as 5,900 apartments. The site had been submitted as a potential home for Amazon’s HQ2.

Tribune Media has not indicated any plans to sell the adjoining seven-acre property north of Chicago Avenue that it plans to co-develop with Riverside Investment & Development. City leaders last year separately approved that proposal, dubbed 700 at the River District, which calls for up to 330 new homes and 1.2 million square feet of office space.

At 37 acres total, the combined River District is the smallest of three neighborhood-sized development clusters currently proposed along the river. Related Midwest was approved in November for its 62-acre “The 78” mega-development on the Near South Side, and Sterling Bay is still trying to lock down the city’s OK for its 54-acre Lincoln Yards plan a mile upstream of the River District site.

Of the three proposed projects, only the River District lies inside one of the city’s affordability pilot zones, meaning 20 percent of its units must be rented below market rate.

In December, Tribune Media announced it reached a $6.4 billion deal to be acquired by Texas-based Nexstar Media Group.

Representatives for Eastdil Secured did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday