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Long Vacant South Loop Site Has 10 Year Plan, $1.5B Price Tag

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Though the controversial designation of the River South Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District passed in 1997, much of the area has remained underdeveloped. But now, in a huge master development agreement led by Australia-based developer Lend Lease in cooperation with CMK Companies, the otherwise empty South Loop neighborhood is slated for total revitalization, the Chicago Architecture Blog reports. The $1.5 billion mega-project claims "a major 13 acre urban regeneration project [...] that will consist of residential apartments/condos, associated retail, commercial and community facilities," and with the plan comes the official name: River South, the neighborhood TIF district which also provides parameters for the order and prioritization of the upcoming, 10-year redevelopment process.

When it was originally established, the River South TIF District gave varied zoning designations to different district subareas. Lend Lease and CMK will be focusing on subareas 1, 3, and 4 as they plan to break ground on the earliest projects in 2016. Subarea 1, which includes areas north of Polk Street in the north part of the project area, will be dedicated to non-residential development, allowing for connections to the Loop. Subarea 3 includes riverside properties between Harrison Street and Roosevelt Road, and will focus on mostly residential development. Subarea 4 includes properties on both sides of Roosevelt Road and will be focus on medium- to high-density mixed uses, including residential.

Lend Lease and CMK's River South is a bold development idea with a big price tag, and its long lead time means that what gets proposed now will look a lot different in a decade. But ultimately the project has the potential to bring welcome change to the South Loop's best version of a clean slate.

UPDATE: This post's map and lead image have been updated to reflect the correct site.

·Empty Riverside Expanse Now Has a Name and Developers [Chicago Architecture Blog]
·River South TIF District Plan [City of Chicago]
·Previous TIF coverage [Curbed Chicago]