The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (fake) trophy. We’ll reveal each of the neighborhoods this week, and polls will be open for 24 hours so you can cast your vote as to which ones should advance. Let the eliminations commence!
(3) South Loop
The South Loop has been busy this year between two new skyscrapers and a massive development from Related Midwest. Helmut Jahn and Kara Mann’s 1000M along with Rafael Vinoly’s One Grant Park will make quite a difference in the Chicago skyline.
Chicago’s biggest development, The 78 and Discovery Partners Institute from Related Midwest, was announced for a parcel of undeveloped land in the neighborhood. The first glimpse of the project showed a multi-phase, mixed-use plan for the 62-acre vacant riverfront area. The Discovery Partners Institute is meant to bolster Chicago’s education, research and business resources. And the timing of this announcement hints at the city’s eagerness to attract Amazon’s coveted HQ2.
Aside from having quite a lot of high-profile development news, the South Loop has a pretty awesome dog park and the historical charm of the redeveloped Motor Row buildings is a major bonus. The area is within arm’s reach of Museum Campus, Soldier Field and McCormick Place, which is North America’s largest convention center. But there are places to escape the crowds such as the lovely Women’s Park and Gardens or the number of coffee shops, cafes and jazz bars.
(14) East and West Garfield Park
Flanking the historic public park by the same name, Chicago’s East and West Garfield Park neighborhoods are making their Curbed Cup debut. Featuring a number of surviving turn-of-the-century homes and the stunning Garfield Park Conservatory, the West Side community is starting to get more attention.
Garfield Park is particularly well-positioned for future growth as Chicago’s booming West Loop and Fulton Market District approaches critical mass. Though the United Center and its virtual sea of asphalt parking lots present a barrier from an urban planning standpoint, big things are already starting to happen.
This fall, crews broke ground on The Hatchery—an innovative food-oriented small business incubator—at the blighted lot at the corner of Lake Street and Kedzie Avenue. According to the City of Chicago the development will bring 150 new jobs to East Garfield Park in the first year and up to 900 jobs within five years.
The plan to build a 30-acre, $95 million police and fire training facility in the West Garfield Park neighborhood has sparked debates over whether that’s the best use of funds for the cash-strapped city. Although, some argue the move represents a much-needed investment in the West Side community.