Related Midwest has finally taken the cover off of The 78, so named because the Chicago-based developer envisions it to be the city’s 78th neighborhood. At 62 acres, the site along the South Branch of the Chicago River could very well be that, as it also unites near-south communities with the Loop.
The master plan will transform the largest parcel of undeveloped land in downtown Chicago into a vibrant, unique, mixed-use community that will include residences, boutique retail options, curated restaurant offerings, cultural institutions and office space. Plans also call for a University of Illinois-led Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), a world-class research and innovation center, to call the site home, serving as a major technology research hub that would attract talent from around the world.
“Chicago is a global and ethnically diverse city with strong neighborhoods at its heart. We’ve spent years studying what makes those neighborhoods great and are using those attributes to influence the design of The 78. From vast public recreational spaces to increased transit options to the DPI, The 78 will reflect the best of Chicago,” said Curt Bailey, president, Related Midwest. “It’s a privilege to build a community on the last large-scale parcel of undeveloped land in downtown Chicago.”
Bordered by Roosevelt Road, Clark Street, 16th Street and the Chicago River, the Loop-adjacent site will feature more than 11 acres of publicly accessible green and open space reserved for year-round programming and with riverfront restaurants and entertainment. The project will also knit together the surrounding neighborhoods of the South Loop, Chinatown, Bronzeville and Pilsen—long segregated from the CBD by highways, the river and train lines—by creating a new Red Line CTA station, protected bike lanes, walking paths and waterfront access. Construction on a Wells-Wentworth Connector will begin in summer 2018 with other infrastructure elements to begin in 2019.
“Once every few generations in Chicago, there emerges a project of great reach. The 78 is that project for this generation. We are relocating train lines, opening a half-mile of public riverfront, connecting downtown to Chinatown, adding new parkland, and bringing in unprecedented space for education, housing and workplace. The 78 is a reflection of the Chicago tradition to ‘make no little plans,‘ and we’re excited to knit together so many communities and strengthen the South Side,” said Phil Enquist, consulting partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. SOM is conducting the master planning.