The city of Chicago and its partners at C40 Cities have selected five local development teams as finalists to purchase and redevelop city-owned land at Van Buren Street and Plymouth Court in the Loop, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced.
The five groups—selected in response to an RFQ issued earlier this year in conjunction with the international C40 Reinventing Cities competition—are being exclusively invited to submit mixed-use redevelopment proposals for the 16,000-square-foot location. The winner will be chosen through a recently launched RFP process that concludes this fall.
The five finalists include:
Common Good Collaborative: Developed by Lendlease and KMA Co., this team includes Valerio Dewalt Train and Associates as well as Latent Design conducting architectural duties, with dbHMS as environmental consultant.
The Community Builders/Studio Gang: The Community Builders would be the lead developer, with Studio Gang, DesignBridge and JAQ Corp. all contributing architectural designs; dbHMS has been tapped as environmental consultant.
Team Unity: Keith Giles, Mercy Housing and Chicago TREND Corporation are co-developing this proposal. The architect of record would be Fitzgerald Architects and Transsolar Inc. is serving as environmental consultant.
Turnstone Development: Co-developed by Turnstone Development and Lightengale Group, architectural duties would be shared between MKB Architects and Mir Collective, with dbHMS working as environmental consultant.
“Each of these teams represent extensive design and build expertise,” said Department of Planning and Development First Deputy Commissioner, Eleanor Gorski. “We expect them each to submit creative proposals that maximize this unique opportunity to support economic development, affordable housing, open space and sustainability in the heart of the Loop.”
Thirteen teams responded to the City’s RFQ. The finalist selection committee included representatives from the Chicago Loop Alliance, the Near South Planning Board, South Loop Advisory Committee, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Libraries and Chicago Transit Authority.
The L-shaped site consists of vacant land, a vacant commercial building and a vacant parking garage that are adjacent to the Harold Washington Library Center, the State Street retail corridor and multiple rapid transit lines.
Redevelopment proposals must leverage the site’s location with a viable mix of uses, including improvements that enhance the adjacent Pritzker Park as public open space, among other requirements, according to the RFP. Review criteria will include the completeness of each submission, purchase price, quality of the development plan, appropriateness of the proposed uses relative to the surrounding community, site plan and design concepts, the experience and financial capacity of the development team, among other considerations.
C40 is a global network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. Chicago’s participation in C40’s 2019 Reinventing Cities competition resulted in the selection of Garfield Green, an environmentally sustainable, mixed-income project at Fifth and Kedzie avenues in East Garfield Park.
“The 2020 Chicago finalists have developed rigorous methodologies to strive for zero-carbon objectives and I am excited to see how they will develop their proposals in the final stage,” said C40 Cities regional director, Laura Jay. “More than ever, many cities, businesses and individuals are committed to progress and leading the effort to create a more sustainable and inclusive world.”