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

Author: Editor

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

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