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Neighborhood Aspirations

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When you think of the New Eastside, do you think of a neighborhood? That's the question being asked by myriad observers of the new master-planned area. Can a single entity (in this case, Magellan Development Group) be credited with creating a neighborhood, or must it evolve into one over time? The New Eastside, essentially just the Illinois Center, Aon Center, and Magellan's 28-acre Lakeshore East development, is home to 15,000 people, a park, a restaurant, and a grocery store. There's space for other businesses—some committed—but they've yet to move in. The Chicago Architecture Foundation has taken to calling it a neighborhood. And Magellan CEO Joel Carlins tells Crain's Lisa Bertagnoli that residents treat it like a neighborhood and that "the concept was to create a village in the heart of the city." But without much self-sufficiency and with its isolation from transit and established 'hoods, is it not more of a gated community? It's also too new to have much organic character, like art, grit, and independent businesses. The New Eastside will have trouble attracting young buyers and renters without such character. And so long as the price of entry is $300K and up, it won't be very mixed either. [Crain's]