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New name and transit plan revealed for Riverside-Tribune redevelopment site

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The four-building development would connect to Chicago’s commuter hubs via a proposed access road

Goettsch Partners
Goettsch Partners

A seven-acre, mixed-use campus proposed to replace a riverfront Chicago Tribune distribution center at the northeast corner of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street has launched an official website featuring a new name for the multi-phase development: 700 at The River District.

Designed by the architects at Goettsch Partners, the $700 million joint venture between Tribune Media and Riverside Investment & Development filed its zoning paperwork with the City of Chicago earlier this month. If approved, the plan would include four buildings with 1.2 million square feet of loft-style office space, up to 310 residential units, and 4.5 acres of publicly-accessible waterfront open space.

The new “River District” branding attached to the project could perhaps be applied beyond the site at 700 W. Chicago Avenue in the future. With more mixed-used developments in the pipeline thanks to the City Council adopting mechanisms for lifting the area’s protected manufacturing zoning, perhaps the name hints at an entirely new neighborhood area. River District certainly rolls off the tongue easier than “the former North Branch Industrial Corridor.”

In addition to the revised nomenclature, more information has come to light regarding how Riverside Investment hopes to get over 6,000 new employees and residents to the site without overwhelming existing automobile infrastructure.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Riverside CEO John O’Donnell referenced an initiative to widen the Chicago Avenue bridge as well as hinted at an “access road the city has planned” that runs through the Tribune’s 30-acre Freedom Center parcel between Grand and Chicago avenues. A shuttle route utilizing what is presumedly this exact road appeared in the project’s marketing materials.

A transit plan lifted from an early marketing flyer for the property.