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Traffic improvement plan to clear path for One Chicago Square approval

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The project’s developers will fund nearby upgrades including the long-discussed widening of the Chicago Avenue bridge

A street level view southeast from the corner of Chicago Avenue and Dearborn Street.
Goettsch Partners/HPA

Ahead of its scheduled appearance before the Chicago Plan Commission this week, the massive, two-tower redevelopment of Holy Name Cathedral’s parking lot is close to officially earning the approval of 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the elected official is “leaning toward support” of the 1,012-foot-tall One Chicago Square project after the developers agreed to fund a number of nearby traffic improvements.

The massive, two-tower development is proposed for the River North block bordered by State, Superior, Dearborn, and Chicago.
Goettsch Partners/HPA

The upgrades primarily focus on Chicago Avenue—a thoroughfare that, according to Hopkins, needed new traffic management solutions “regardless if a new development is built.” The latest Chicago Avenue transit improvement program will eliminate some on-street parking to free-up lanes for better traffic flow and finance a long-discussed plan to widen the Chicago Avenue bridge. JDL Development will also contribute funds to improve Streeterville’s Seneca Park.

The Alderman says that the specific language of the transit plan is still being worked out and added to One Chicago Square’s Planned Development (PD) document. It is hoped that the details will get worked out prior to Thursday’s Chicago Plan Commission meeting. If not, a vote on the project will likely be pushed to next month.

Designed by Chicago architects Goettsch Partners and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, the design of the $700 million project also continues to evolve behind the scenes. According to the same Sun-Times report, JDL Development President Jim Letchinger confirmed the taller of the two towers has been made skinnier, per Hopkins’ request.

This and other potential changes will be revealed at Thursday’s—or perhaps February’s—meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission. Provided City approvals go smoothly, the developer aims to break ground on One Chicago Square later this year and complete the project in 2021.