JDL plans massive residential project for River North site

Developer seeks approval for up to 4K units and 30K sf of retail

JDL CEO Jim Letchinger and map of the Moody Bible Institute property (Credit: Moody Bible, HFF, JDL)
JDL CEO Jim Letchinger and map of the Moody Bible Institute property (Credit: Moody Bible, HFF, JDL)

JDL Development is seeking approvals for a major residential project at the Moody Bible Institute site in River North.

The project could include as many as 3,950 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail on the eight-acre site, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Christian college put 10 acres of land on the market in July 2019 without an asking price. It appears JDL — which still needs city approval to purchase the property — would only acquire eight acres.

The specifics are still in flux, and JDL CEO Jim Letchinger said there will likely be fewer units than what was laid out in the plans.

Still, if the sale is approved, it would be one of the largest residential development projects in Chicago in decades, according to the Tribune. Letchinger said he hoped to start work by the end of the year.

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The parcels could eventually house more than 5.3 million square feet of built space if the buyer sought a zoning change, marketing materials said.

Moody’s Bible Institute plans to keep its main campus between Chestnut Street and Chicago Avenue, and will use proceeds from the sale to fund infrastructure and technology upgrades at the campus.

Letchinger declined to comment on the height of his proposed buildings, telling the Tribune that his focus at this stage was on meeting with community groups.

“This area needs development, and the city really needs development more than ever right now,” he said. “I’m not expecting it to be controversial. There’s not a lot of immediate neighbors.” [Tribune] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan