The proposed $20B megadevelopment One Central is back from the dead

The deadline extension could be exactly what Landmark Development needed to buy it some more time to get local officials and residents on board

Dec.December 24, 2019 10:00 AM
One Central megadevelopment in South Loop

One Central megadevelopment in South Loop

It looked dead, but there’s hope yet. An effort is underfoot to revive the proposed One Central megadevelopment on 34 acres west of Soldier Field in the South Loop, before a critical end-of-the-year funding deadline.

A deadline for Landmark Development, led by Wisconsin developer Bob Dunn, to apply for a federal loan was extended from Dec. 31 to Sept. 30 last week when a provision giving it extra time was tucked into a must-pass bill funding operations of the federal government, according to Crain’s. The funding would be allocated through a program under the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015.

One Central’s plans call for a $20 billion mixed-use complex, including a series of residential and office high-rises, and transit center connecting the Chicago Transit Authority’s el, Amtrak and Metra lines in a structure with a parking garage and retail space.

Landmark still has to win over Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Pat Dowell of the 3rd Ward. Both have previously criticized One Central, with Lightfoot speaking out against the way Landmark officials are conducting themselves and Dowell requesting numerous revisions.

But Gov. J.B. Pritzker indicated his support when he backed legislation to allow the state to negotiate a deal in which it would effectively buy the transit center from Landmark with payments totaling about $1.9 billion over a period of 20 or more years.

South Loop residents have expressed concern over the project’s size and access to the lakefront, among other things.

Landmark is crafting a detailed pitch and related research, expected to be released as soon as next month, with the help of leading transportation and economic planning firms AECOM and WSP Global.

Sources told Crain’s that former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus has been involved with Landmark’s activities on behalf of One Central.

[Crain’s] -– Brianna Kelly

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