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Open thread: Which Chicago megadevelopment needs to happen the most?

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City-altering proposals are popping up left and right, but which is the most crucial concept for Chicago?

Flickr Creative Commons/Jaysin Trevino
A rendering depicting the completed Wolf Point megadevelopment.

Across Chicago, there are dozens of high-rises currently under construction and numerous billion-dollar deals in various stages of planning. But of all of these major developments proposed, which one is the most crucial for Chicago? Sure, it’s a loaded question, but it’s one we see from readers regularly. The flurry of new construction and development causes many to wonder things, particularly who these new residences are for and if many of these major plans will ever be completed.

When we first published a summary of the tallest and most ambitious tower projects planned for Chicago nearly two years ago, many commenters initially doubted that many of them would ever make it off the ground. Not only are most of them currently underway, but the list has even grown since then as new plans for tall tower projects have cropped up just in the last few months.

However, megadevelopments with complex master plans and numerous towers are a different story. These projects are built in phases, typically with the most challenging and expensive towers coming last. Projects that fall under the megadevelopment umbrella include Wolf Point, Vista Tower, Riverline, The 78, the US Steel South Works redevelopment, the North Branch redevelopment, the final Lakeshore East parcels, the redevelopment of the Chicago Spire site, the Union Station redevelopment, the Michael Reese Hospital site, the Old Main Post Office redevelopment, and a few others.

The transformative Riverline megadevelopment in the South Loop.

The recession of the last decade was notable for halting the real estate industry seemingly overnight. Lofty condo tower projects in Chicago and elsewhere we abandoned as money dried up and interest in pricey residences waned. Memories of the recession are still fresh in the minds of investors, homebuyers, and renters, and some are starting to see numerous indicators in today’s development boom that are reminiscent of the real estate bubble and eventual crash of the last decade.

Developers are rushing to propose and construction projects while times are good, but what happens in the case of an adjustment or a period full-on economic hardship? And of the numerous megadevelopments currently planned for the city, which are the most crucial to complete sooner than later?