River South: More Towers, More Townhouses, and a Drilling Truck

Soil sampling truck at River South

Soil sampling truck at River South

It’s been a busy couple of days for the muddy expanse of ground between South Wells Street and the Chicago River recently dubbed River South.

Yesterday soil sampling trucks showed up and started drilling there, as you can see in the photo above.  And then today representatives of the developers, CMK and Lend Lease, gave a courtesy presentation to the Chicago Plan Commission about their plans for the property.

When we first told you about the River South development, it was going to be five skyscrapers, a thousand parking spaces, a gaggle of townhouses and a partridge in a pear tree.  All of that would be contained in a plot of land bounded to the north by Harrison Street, and to the south by Polk Street.

Today’s presentation was for a different chunk of land — the space roughly from Taylor Street south to Roosevelt Road.  According to city documents CMK and LL plan three skyscrapers and 62 townhouses with a total of 942 residences in that space.

Southern part of River South. iPhone + municipal projector = really terrible photo. Sorry about that, it's all we have to work with right now.

Southern part of River South. iPhone + municipal projector = really terrible photo. Sorry about that, it’s all we have to work with right now.

A rendering shown at City Hall depicted a high-rise tower running north-south along Wells Street just south of River City, followed by green space, then an east-west oriented tower hugging the river, followed by ranks of townhouses, and ending with another tower adjacent to Roosevelt Road.

Again, this was just a friendly, “Hey guys, look at the cool thing we’re working on” from the developers to the city.  There was no formal introduction of a construction plan here.  In fact, the zoning documents for the area haven’t been updated since 1980 when the developer was the Chessie System.  Railfans know it as the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.  That’s because the new plan fits within the limits of current zoning, so not a lot of extra permission is needed for CMK and Lend Lease to start on this second portion of River South.


And start, they will.  Late this afternoon Crain’s Chicago Business published an article citing the developers as planning to break ground on this southern portion of River South by the end of the year.

The southern part of River South as it is today:

Location: 600-1000 South Wells Street, South Loop


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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