If you live in the South Loop, your commute tonight might end with a new phrase “This is Cermak-McCormick Place.” The Chicago Transit Authority’s newest L stop opened this week, and The Chicago Architecture Blog‘s Daniel Schell stopped by to take pictures of the CTA station at its cleanest.
The new station is partly a response to the increasing number of people living in the South Loop and an effort by the city and civic organizations to revitalize the area. The larger goal is to connect the once-isolated McCormick Place convention center complex to the rest of the city.
In the middle of the last century, “event island” urban planning was all the rage. But today, the goal is to draw conventioneers out of the convention center and its linked hotels and have them spend some time and money in the rest of the city. This also allows them to experience Chicago in a way that previous generations didn’t. My father, for example, attended conventions in Chicago regularly back in the 1970s and 80s but only went downtown once. That’s just how things worked back then. But today, conventioneers are also looked at as tourists, with money to spend beyond the convention zone.