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Master plan for former Finkl Steel site finally unveiled

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Developer Sterling Bay has taken the wraps off of its plan for the sprawling industrial site

Sterling Bay

Sterling Bay, one of Chicago’s busiest developers, has unveiled its plans to transform the 30-acre riverfront site which previously housed the A. Finkl & Sons steel plant near the affluent Lincoln Park and Bucktown neighborhoods. Dubbed Lincoln Yards, the plan will deliver a number of new low- to mid-rise buildings which would presumably deliver a mix of uses such as office space, retail, and housing. According to the Chicago Tribune, the ambitious project could cost upwards of $10 billion and take a decade to complete.

The timing of the reveal does not appear to be a coincidence. While Sterling Bay’s formal announcement is sparse on specifics and details for the master plan, Sterling Bay managing principal Andy Gloor tells Tribune reporter Ryan Ori that the group is seeking Amazon’s attention. Chicago has been highlighted by numerous outlets as a strong candidate for Amazon’s coveted HQ2 which the company says will house 50,000 employees and represent billions of dollars in new investment, and the former Finkl Steel site is one of the most prominent redevelopment opportunities in Chicago that is certainly large enough for a corporate headquarters.

In addition to numerous new buildings, renderings of the proposed Lincoln Yards campus also reveal a lush riverfront and a 606 extension. Previous drawings suggested that Sterling Bay had been planning a new Metra stop and an extension of the popular 606 pedestrian trail, and the new renderings help to solidify such plans.

No timeline is mentioned in Sterling Bay’s announcement, however the developer has moved quickly on other high-profile developments such as the under-construction global headquarters for McDonald’s in the Fulton Market area. What Sterling Bay does reveal is the talent behind the new master plan. Firms tapped for the project include SOM, Boston’s CBT, Nelson\Nygaard, and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

The project is one that should certainly grab the attention of Jeff Bezos and Amazon exces. With a combination of key location along the riverfront, planning from highly qualified and experienced firms, and Chicago’s continued growth in tourism and new corporate investment, it’s highly likely that Sterling Bay will be able to lure a high-profile tenant to the campus. And of course, if City Hall has anything to do with it, it’ll be Amazon moving into the area.

Sterling Bay
Sterling Bay