Johnson backs Dunn’s $20B One Central development

Plan calls for 9,000 residential units, 11M sf of commercial space

Brandon Johnson with rendering of One Central
Brandon Johnson with rendering of One Central (Getty, One Central)

With the mayoral race between Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson in its final hours, the latter’s support of Bob Dunn’s One Central development is drawing more attention.

Johnson, who isn’t exactly the biggest ally of big developers, said Dunn’s transit-oriented plan, which calls for 9,000 residential units and 11 million square feet of office and retail space, is “a pretty promising idea,” Crain’s reported.

Dunn’s company Landmark Development has been seeking political support in order to receive a $6.5 billion state subsidy for the $20 billion project. One Central would be built on the Metra tracks across from Soldier Field, and Johnson agrees with Dunn that it would create many jobs in the Near South Side neighborhood while helping to “connect people to those jobs,” he told the outlet.

Vallas likewise has discussed the project with Dunn, saying he’s open to the idea and doesn’t want to dismiss it.

A Landmark spokesperson said Dunn and his company “look forward to working with the incoming administration to spur this new infrastructure and economic development for Chicago.” 

Otherwise, the candidates have taken vastly different stances on real estate-related issues. Johnson has been an avid proponent of expanding affordable housing, and taxing the top of the residential market, and a big chunk of the commercial market, to do it.

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He’s backed a proposal to more than triple real estate transfer taxes on all sales of more than $1 million. The proposed plan would increase the transfer rate from 0.75 percent to 2.65 percent on homes selling for $1 million or more, with the funds going directly towards affordable-housing initiatives.

Meanwhile, Vallas’ policies are more aligned with prominent developers and the business community. In recent weeks, the Vallas campaign has received checks from people tied to Chicago’s biggest commercial real estate players, including Sterling Bay, Riverside Investment & Development, Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz and the Prime Group.

Polls close in the mayoral runoff at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

— Quinn Donoghue

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