While Sterling Bay caused quite a stir last week publicly releasing a visionary design for a 958-foot skyscraper near Chicago’s Union Station, the local developer and its architectural partner Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) aren’t the only firms vying for a shot to redevelop approximately 14 acres of prime Amtrak-controlled real estate in the near West Loop. Amtrak — owner of Union Station — has whittled its official request for qualifications (RFQ) down to a short list that includes Sterling Bay and three other potential developers partnership, reports Crain’s.
First among the finalists is Golub & Co. who recently acquired Chicago’s Tribune tower along with partner CIM Group for $240 million. The Chicago-based developer has tapped international architectural giant Gensler to spearhead the design of its redevelopment plans. Gensler is also leading a massive effort to reposition Chicago’s abandoned Old Post Office into new office space just two blocks south of Union Station.
Next on Amtrak’s short list is Jones Lang LaSalle — the second largest commercial real estate broker in the world. JLL’s plans involve a partnership with developer John Buck Company and calls for architecture from Studio Gang and Pelli Clarke Pelli, the design firms respectively behind Chicago’s upcoming Vista Tower and the second and third phases of Wolf Point's redevelopment .
Riverside Investment & Development, headed by formerJohn Buck exec John O'Donnell, rounds out the list of potential Union Station redevelopers. The firm is most recently responsible for the topped-out Goettsch-designed office tower at 150 N. Riverside but has to reveal the identity of any Union Station redevelopment partners or architects at this time.
According to Crain’s, the selection process has moved to the request for proposal (RFP) phase with a deadline of set for the end of 2016. Amtrak is expected to announce its partner in the first quarter of 2017. Though no firm details have been released, the Union Station master plan will likely call for a combination of office, retail, hotel, and residential uses. The developable air rights above Amtrak assets such as nearby rail tracks, a parking garage, and Union Station itself potentially totals 3 million square feet.