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Architecture Sun Jun 08 2008

No Little Plans, Part 1: Central Station, Gateway Development

For my next few posts, I thought I would post some of the large scale urban development plans that are in their early stages. Next post, the redevelopment of Lake Meadows.

Think the development in the South Loop can't get more intense? Think again. In a recent update to his book, Central Station: Realizing a Vision, visionary developer Gerald Fogelson details what the future holds for "Chicago's most successful lakefront development." In addition to completing the street wall of towers along Roosevelt Road, between Michigan Avenue and Indiana Avenue, Fogelson explains early concepts for the remaining "land" in the Central Station area. Why the "land" in quotes? Because the Gateway development would be built entirely on air rights.

Located over the railroad tracks, from Roosevelt Road to 18th Street, approximately 12 towers will be constructed consisting of 5,000 new residences or hotel rooms, 500,000 sq.ft. of retail, and 2 million square feet of office space. The approximate total cost of the development is $4 billion.

View look north showing the Olympic venues on Northerly Island, the pedestrian bridge, and the Olympic Village towards the lower left of the image.

While observing the rendering, it becomes clear that this would happen in conjunction with the potential 2016 Olympic development on Northerly Island. A pedestrian bridge would provide much needed access to the under-utilized island. Two additional access projects would be completed as well. The tracks between Roosevelt and 14th Street, donated to the city by Central Station, will be a "green" access-way to link the new development to Grant Park. Secondly, a new ramp from Lake Shore Drive will be constructed at 18th Street and link to 15th Street and Indiana Avenue.

At such an early stage in the planning process, it is difficult to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal; a general plan of the area has not yet been released. Certainly, this is the largest project planned for the city since the original Central Station development. If built as proposed, it would attempt to create a balanced, downtown neighborhood, not seen outside of the Loop. Including new office building(s) and several hotels in proximately to McCormick Place is a logical idea to bolster the international convention destination. One large area of concern would most definitely be the lack of transit service to the massive development. To be built over the Metra Electric tracks, this development could be the impetus to begin to provide more regular, CTA-style service on the lakefront line. Other infrastructure concerns will certainly have to be addressed, but for now, the preliminary renderings show a very provocative, dynamic development.

View looking northwest at the Gateway development.

Note: All images used in this post were scanned from Central Station: Realizing a Vision.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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