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New shopping mall—and tower?—planned for prime River North parcel

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The owner of the Shops at North Bridge is eying an expansion to a neighboring parking lot

Crain’s Chicago Business

One of River North’s largest undeveloped sites could support a new shopping mall and perhaps a whole lot more. Based on a series of renderings obtained by Crain’s, the parcel at 443 N. Wabash may sprout a new multi-story Class A retail space attached to the adjacent Shops at North Bridge and Michigan Avenue’s busy Mag Mile shopping district via a series of elevated walkways.

With both the North Bridge complex and the neighboring lot owned by California-based Macerich, there’s long been speculation that an expansion was in the works. Further fueling the fire, the site has been visited by soil-testing crews—a strong indicator of future construction—multiple times since the 1978 Lake Shore Athletic Club building was demolished in 2014.

Soil testing [left] taking place in the parking lot bordered by Illinois, Rush, Hubbard, and upper Wabash.
Jay Koziarz

While the addition retail space was pretty much assumed given Macerich’s portfolio of 48 shopping centers, Crain’s has not ruled out the possibility of the developer pursuing a residential or hotel tower above the rather substantial looking base pictured in the renderings.

It’s unclear if the renderings represent a conceptual work in progress or the developer’s final vision for the 65,000-square-foot site. So far, Macerich has yet to apply for the zoning approvals necessary to move its “South Bridge” plan forward.