Chicago’s Newest Development is Officially a Thing: Riverline [u]

Rendering of Riverline (Courtesy of Perkins+Will)

Rendering of Riverline (Courtesy of Perkins+Will)

Downtown Chicago’s newest planned community can officially make the transition from paper to reality.  Today the Chicago Plan Commission approved the construction of Riverline.

Riverline is a joint development between CMK and Australian mega-developer Lend Lease south of Harrison Street, north of Roosevelt Road, and sandwiched between South Wells Street and the Chicago River.

It was designed by Ralph Johnson at Perkins+Will  and includes five skyscrapers ranging in height from 380 to 600 feet, three mid-rise buildings, and a number of townhouses.   In total the city approved 2,699 residences, about 16,000 square feet of retail space, and lots of public open space and pathways.

Rendering of Riverline (Courtesy of Perkins+Will)

Rendering of Riverline (Courtesy of Perkins+Will)

At today’s Chicago Plan Commission meeting, 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney stated that he thought the plan runs a little short on retail space considering that about five thousand people are expected to live there.

CDOT is also concerned about the number of new residents suddenly popping up in this corner of the South Loop, and is proposing a laundry list of changes to Wells, Polk, Jefferson, Harrison, Clark, and other streets.  Mostly left turn lanes and improved pedestrian safety schemes; but also the widening of South Wells Street to handle more traffic.

While the development will include a water taxi dock along the river, Chicago Park District Commissioner Michael Kelly asked the developers to look into the possibility of also including a public boat dock.  Both Kelly and Zoning Administrator Patricia Scudiero praised the developers for orienting the project so that it addresses the Chicago River.

Riverline completion is expected between 2023 and 2025.

Read more about it in the press release below.

Rendering of Riverline (Courtesy of Perkins+Will)

Rendering of Riverline (Courtesy of Perkins+Will)

 

 

CMK and Lendlease unveil Riverline; a new riverfront residential experience in Chicago

(Chicago, IL) — A joint venture of Lendlease, one of the world’s largest international property and infrastructure companies, and CMK Companies, Ltd., a leading Chicago‐based residential developer, today announced details of its plan to bring over 3,600 residences to downtown Chicago under a thoughtfully‐ crafted master plan celebrating natural open space amenities and a unique 13‐acre riverfront location. Ideally located in downtown Chicago on the banks of the Chicago River and in the heart of the River South neighborhood, Riverline will feature a spectacular river walk, retail plaza, park, children’s playground, river taxi access, kayak launch and riverfront amphitheater.

The master plan includes eight new buildings designed by Ralph Johnson of Perkins+Will, and will consist of a mix of condominium, townhome and rental residences. With over 31⁄2 acres of open space, including a half mile of continuous river walk and a park, all with access from the surrounding community, Riverline will provide a tranquil and inviting natural experience just steps from the central business district. Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects designed an ecologically‐ sustainable environment that incorporates a natural habitat with a multi‐use path system and public access points to seamlessly bridge the urban landscape with the vibrant restored natural ecosystem of the Chicago River.

Colin Kihnke, President of CMK Companies Ltd. said “We are excited by today’s approval of the Riverline project by the City of Chicago Plan Commission and look forward to carrying out the realization of this unique master plan. We are confident that the input we received from Alderman Solis and many members of the neighborhood through numerous community meetings has served to greatly improve our plan.”

“The synergies of our partnership with CMK allow for perfect alignment with Lendlease’s mission to create the best places,” said Tom Weeks, General Manager of Development for Lendlease in Chicago. “We have the team in place and the joint commitment to make sure Riverline succeeds in that mission and brings lasting social and economic benefits to the City of Chicago.”

The river walk is a defining feature of Riverline and will offer continuous north‐south access along the river from Harrison Street to Roosevelt Road. Walkways from the north and east will interact with the river walk, offering multiple access points that facilitate engagement with the river.

The preview sales program for the first phase offering is scheduled to launch in early 2016, with construction anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2016. Phase 1 is planned to include a 19‐story 278‐unit condominium building and 62 fee‐simple townhomes south of Taylor Street, a 29‐story 452‐unit multi‐ family building north of Polk Street, 31⁄2 acres of open space south of Harrison Street and the entire River Walk from Harrison Street to Roosevelt Road.

Rendering of Riverline (Courtesy of Perkins+Will)

Rendering of Riverline (Courtesy of Perkins+Will)

 

 

Location: 600 South Wells Street, South Loop

Editor

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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13 Comments

  1. Handsome, and decent density, but too bad Goldberg’s plans for the site couldn’t be resurrected.

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    • Editor

      We can always hope for the vertical extension. That would make it a truly spectacular centerpiece for this project.

      Post a Reply
  2. There’s no mention of it here, but the picture shows this new development stretching from Harrison to Roosevelt, which means it would replace River City. Is that correct? From what I hear that property is pretty distressed so I wouldn’t be totally surprised, but then again, it also seems that it would have been mentioned if it was true.

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    • Editor

      The new development does not replace River City. River City is in the middle of the new development. You can see it in the first rendering.

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  3. It appears that there was a very deliberate effort made to diminish river views for those who live in CMK’s 235 West Van Buren. Hanging the nearest tower as far as possible at the edge of the river is nothing short of hostile. Why?

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      On my map, putting the tallest tower of Riverline on the edge of the river helps preserve 235’s views. Putting it at the east edge of the property would impact 235 far more, as well as the Vetro building.

      It is unlikely that CMK would take a deliberately “hostile” action against one of its own properties.

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  4. I think this is going to be really good for 235 w van buren
    more activities, more restaurants and a connection to a real residential neighborhood which is lacking for now

    Post a Reply
    • No new grocery for dwellers without cars, with all the new apt. buildings going up on Wabash, State, and Clark streets how on earth is the Jewel at Wabash and Roosevelt, which is already obsolete in size going to handle all these new people? Why not a new grocery to handle this new community.

      Post a Reply
      • Editor

        Thanks for the comment, Thomas. How is it that you know that there will not be a grocery store as part of the 16,000 square feet of planned retail space? Can you tell us what kinds of stores are going in instead?

        Post a Reply
  5. Looks nice. I wonder how much parking is planned and if residents will have to pay extra? The area is great but already pretty tight on spaces.

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  6. is this development for rich people like every thing else in the big city’s is like u can’t live the good things in lie if u don’t have lots of money .

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  7. Do you know where the full plan can be accessed (as opposed to renderings which make it hard to discern exactly where the structures will be)? I am looking to buy in the neighborhood and want to know what views will be obstructed.

    I rent in Printer’s Row now … this looks to be a beautiful development, but the community is looking at 8-10 years of disruption. This (formerly) quiet spot has already lost hundreds of permitted parking spots to this project and the other two that are located on Financial street across from the British School. Sidewalks have been usurped so that pedestrians have to walk in the middle of the street in some cases (safety concern) and there is garbage, dirt, and dust everywhere (to say nothing of the noise). Aldermen do zilch. Again, I am all for progress, but I am really taken aback at the lack of proper planning and controls to protect the community. I just moved here from New York City (!) where this would never happen; temporary sidewalks would have been required and no project would be able to take up 6 to 8 feet of road (Riverline) for the duration of the project.

    I am inclined to move out of this neighborhood because 10 years of disruption might be more than I am willing to take on.

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      Hi Anne! We published the layout of the buildings in June of 2015, before the project had a name. You can see it here: http://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2015/06/18/lend-lease-and-cmk-plow-ahead-with-ambitious-5-tower-south-loop-plan/

      As for construction in New York, I am a native New Yorker, too, and can say that Chicago’s construction process is far more orderly than New York’s. And surprisingly heavily regulated. I can’t say that one is better than the other in this regard, but I’ve seen worse things in both cities.

      And here’s a little tip from one transplant to another: Never tell someone in Chicago that things were done better in New York. They will tell you not to let the door hit you in the ass on your way back east. And rightly so.

      Post a Reply

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