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Chicago Cultural and Civic Institutions Undergoing Major Renovations

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Renovations in the Windy City are not just limited to rehabbing warehouses or sprucing up classic bungalows. Below are some of the cultural and civic facilities currently undergoing transformations. Chicago’s parks are experiencing somewhat of a mini renaissance as locals and visitors are finding new ways to enjoy the city’s open space, while many of Chicago’s sporting venues and transportation hubs are being reimagined as popular tourist destinations in their own right.

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1. Navy Pier

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600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-7437
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The Midwest’s largest tourist attraction is in the midst of a comprehensive refresh that includes a new ferris wheel, retail space, and pedestrian mall. The next phase of renovations will be more substantial, featuring a 222-room KOO-designed hotel with a rooftop bar added to the Pier’s eastern end.

2. Chicago Shakespeare Theater

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800 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-5600

While also located at Navy Pier, Chicago’s preeminent Shakespeare venue is undergoing an overhaul of its own. The theatre is set to receive a new lobby and performance space dubbed “The Yard” designed by architects Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill. The project just landed its first construction permits.

3. Northerly Island

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1400 S Linn White Dr
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 745-2910
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Formerly the site of Meigs Field commuter airport, this 40-acre peninsula along Chicago’s lakeshore has recently transformed into a nature preserve. Despite recent erosion issues, the next step in the Studio Gang-designed park’s renovation involves a new boardwalk, dining options, and man-made paddling/diving lagoon.

4. Chicago Union Station

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225 S Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 322-6777
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Chicago’s grand 1925 train station is proceeding with a phased transformation that would see the facility turn into mixed-use destination for both travelers and non-travelers. Union Station's many empty spaces will be restored to their former glory and will house new restaurants, bars, and retail food markets.

5. Chicago Lakefront Trail

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Lake Michigan Lakefront
Chicago, IL 60611

One of Chicago’s most heavily used public amenities is set for a major overhaul as Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced plans widen the trail and finally separate cyclists from pedestrians. Work is already underway on the path’s new flyover that will allow riders and joggers to bypass Grand Avenue and Illinois Street as they cross the mouth of the Chicago River.

6. Lincoln Park Zoo

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2001 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000
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Fresh off the success of last year’s highly acclaimed macaque habitat, Chicago’s north side zoo is continuing to work on new penguin house and a replacement for its rather dated polar bear enclosure. The $22 million project is expected to open later this year.

7. United Center

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1901 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 455-4500
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The west side stadium is currently in the process of building a 190,000 square foot addition that will house new administrative offices as well as a retail complex for Blackhawks and Bulls merchandise. Once the annex is completed this fall, renovation work will turn to converting the stadium's old office space into new fan and service amenities.

8. Wrigley Field

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1060 W Addison St
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 404-2827
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While recent renovations included new bleachers, video boards, facade, and clubhouse, the work at Wrigley is far from over. The next phase of construction will focus on the upper level’s center section and will feature a renovated press box, new seats, concessions, and bathrooms. Work on the ballpark’s revamped exterior plaza is also ongoing.

1. Navy Pier

600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

The Midwest’s largest tourist attraction is in the midst of a comprehensive refresh that includes a new ferris wheel, retail space, and pedestrian mall. The next phase of renovations will be more substantial, featuring a 222-room KOO-designed hotel with a rooftop bar added to the Pier’s eastern end.

600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

2. Chicago Shakespeare Theater

800 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

While also located at Navy Pier, Chicago’s preeminent Shakespeare venue is undergoing an overhaul of its own. The theatre is set to receive a new lobby and performance space dubbed “The Yard” designed by architects Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill. The project just landed its first construction permits.

800 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

3. Northerly Island

1400 S Linn White Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Formerly the site of Meigs Field commuter airport, this 40-acre peninsula along Chicago’s lakeshore has recently transformed into a nature preserve. Despite recent erosion issues, the next step in the Studio Gang-designed park’s renovation involves a new boardwalk, dining options, and man-made paddling/diving lagoon.

1400 S Linn White Dr
Chicago, IL 60605

4. Chicago Union Station

225 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606

Chicago’s grand 1925 train station is proceeding with a phased transformation that would see the facility turn into mixed-use destination for both travelers and non-travelers. Union Station's many empty spaces will be restored to their former glory and will house new restaurants, bars, and retail food markets.

225 S Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606

5. Chicago Lakefront Trail

Lake Michigan Lakefront, Chicago, IL 60611

One of Chicago’s most heavily used public amenities is set for a major overhaul as Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced plans widen the trail and finally separate cyclists from pedestrians. Work is already underway on the path’s new flyover that will allow riders and joggers to bypass Grand Avenue and Illinois Street as they cross the mouth of the Chicago River.

Lake Michigan Lakefront
Chicago, IL 60611

6. Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Fresh off the success of last year’s highly acclaimed macaque habitat, Chicago’s north side zoo is continuing to work on new penguin house and a replacement for its rather dated polar bear enclosure. The $22 million project is expected to open later this year.

2001 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

7. United Center

1901 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612

The west side stadium is currently in the process of building a 190,000 square foot addition that will house new administrative offices as well as a retail complex for Blackhawks and Bulls merchandise. Once the annex is completed this fall, renovation work will turn to converting the stadium's old office space into new fan and service amenities.

1901 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60612

8. Wrigley Field

1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613

While recent renovations included new bleachers, video boards, facade, and clubhouse, the work at Wrigley is far from over. The next phase of construction will focus on the upper level’s center section and will feature a renovated press box, new seats, concessions, and bathrooms. Work on the ballpark’s revamped exterior plaza is also ongoing.

1060 W Addison St
Chicago, IL 60613