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Massive South Loop development wants to build above tracks near Soldier Field

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The 34-acre project will make its public debut in March

Coming soon: Chicago’s next megaproject?
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An ambitious plan to construct a 34-acre, mixed-use development above the Metra Electric tracks west of Lake Shore Drive and Soldier Field is reportedly picking up steam. While many details remain scarce, the massive proposal appears ready to move forward, according to Crain’s.

The multibillion-dollar megaproject would stretch from McFetridge Drive to just north of McCormick Place. It comes from Landmark Development, a venture led by Wisconsin-based developer Bob Dunn and includes local partner Gerald Fogelson, who controls the air rights above the tracks in question.

In 2008, Fogelson first pitched a 3,000-residence, 500-hotel-room development above the tracks. In 2013, the Chicago developer said he was seeking partners to bring his Near South Side vision—then known as the “Gateway” project—to fruition.

The latest proposal could face competition from other big projects including a colossal proposal slated for the nearby site of the old Michael Reese Hospital. But, unlike some other Chicago megadevelopments like Lincoln Yards and The 78, the upcoming plan won’t require the use of controversial tax-increment financing (TIF), says Crain’s.

Given the cost and engineering needed to cap the existing tracks, Gateway 2.0 One Central Station will likely need to be very large for its developers to turn a decent profit. More will be known next month when the project makes its official debut at a public meeting hosted by 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell.

One key question about the project, however, only the market can answer: Is there really enough demand in Chicago for another near-downtown mixed-use megaproject?