The redevelopment of Chicago Union Station and the surrounding properties continues to creep along like a Hiawatha Service train a stuck behind yet another Canadian National freight mess.
The latest bit of news is that Amtrak has narrowed down the list of developers (well, developer groups) to just four. Not surprisingly, the developers are mostly deep-pocketed heavy hitters. But we’re additionally pleased by the high caliber of the architecture firms involved:
- Chicago Union Station Partners — Macquarie, Golub and Walsh with Gensler as architect
- JLL Consortium — Jones Lang LaSalle, John Buck Company, LaSalle Investment Management with Pelli Clarke Pelli, Arup and Studio Gang as architects
- Riverside — Riverside Investment & Development
- Sterling Bay — Sterling Bay with SOM as architects
You’ll remember it was just last week that Sterling Bay lifted the lid on its Union Station proposal, which included a 958-foot-tall SOM office tower.
Those four groups will be responsible for reimagining 1.3 million square feet of existing office space, another three million square feet of potential office space via air rights, 14 acres and land and over 1,600 parking spaces.
Now they have until the dead of winter to submit their specific plans, after which Amtrak will pick a winner, and we’ll all cross our fingers and hope that something happens… this time.
Strong response to Request for Qualifications leads to four teams
CHICAGO — Amtrak has narrowed the field to four teams that will compete to be selected as Master Developer for commercial elements of Chicago Union Station (CUS) and other neighboring properties, all owned by Amtrak.
Several firms responded to a Request for Qualification (RFQ) and those who are “short-listed” are the following, in alphabetical order:
Chicago Union Station Partners: Macquarie Corporate Holdings Pty, Ltd, Golub & Company LLC, and Walsh Investors, LLC. Primary General Contractor: Walsh Construction Company II, LLC; Master Plan and Architect: Gensler Architecture, Planning & Design P.C.; Engineering: Arup; Operations & Maintenance: Golub & Company LLC.
JLL Consortium: Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc., John Buck Company Fund V, Chicago Union Station Development Company, LLC, LaSalle Investment Management, Inc.; Design & Engineering: Pelli Clarke Pelli, Arup, Studio Gang; Operations & Maintenance: John Buck Co.; Property Management: Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc.
Riverside: Riverside Investment & Development; Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates; Rail Operations Interface Manager & Civil Engineer: WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff; Construction Management: Clark Construction Group; Operations, Maintenance & Retail Concession Manager: CBRE Inc.; MEP and Technology Engineer: ESD Global.
Sterling Bay LLC: SB Capital Partners II, LP, SBCP II Qualified Purchasers, LP; Design–Build Contractor: James McHugh Construction Co.; Design & Engineering: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Operations & Maintenance: Sterling Bay LLC.
The Amtrak-owned area within the RFQ is 14.07 acres, which includes 613,075 square feet of total land area and 1,328,804 total square feet of building area, in addition to 1,679 parking spaces and approximately 3,000,000 total buildable square feet of excess air-rights.
Amtrak leaders, working closely with the City of Chicago, Metra commuter rail and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), assisted by KPMG, reviewed the RFQ’s to select those teams considered capable of all aspects of project delivery including an implementable Master Development Plan, design, construction, financing the potential operation and maintenance of non-rail assets, as well as identification of expansion opportunities and commercial development in the surrounding West Loop neighborhood.
“We are excited to be a step closer to securing a master developer to assist us in realizing the full potential of Chicago Union Station and our other Chicago properties,” said Bart Bush, Amtrak Vice President, Asset and Real Estate Development. “The firms selected to advance to the next phase of the process represent some of the best developers in the business, complete with the financial capacity to dream big for Amtrak and the city of Chicago.”
“By transforming Union Station into a modern transit hub we are creating economic opportunities that will reach every part of the city of Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Today we are taking a major step that will move this transformation forward and help Chicago continue to grow and succeed in the 21st-century economy with 21st-century infrastructure.”
“We look forward to working with our partners at Chicago Union Station to review each proposal and choose the right developer to transform this historic facility for the benefit of Chicago and Metra customers,” said Don Orseno, Metra Executive Director/CEO.
“The RTA is proud to be a partner in this work to return this iconic landmark to its original glory,” said Leanne Redden, RTA Executive Director. “Further, as a daily Metra rider, and frequent user of Union Station, I personally understand how these improvements will benefit regional public transportation riders every day.”
Eleven months ago, Amtrak sought local, regional and national developers interested in the opportunity to redevelop the Amtrak-owned station and surrounding land parcels, as well as improvements to both passenger and employee facilities. Industry response helped to craft the RFQ, with responses submitted in July. The next step in the process will be a Request for Proposals from the four teams, with a Master Developer decision by Amtrak this winter.
The designated developer must harmonize commercial development with growing passenger volumes at CUS that are being addressed in a Master Plan, the first phase of which is underway, as well as integrate successfully with the surrounding West Loop neighborhood. The Master Developer will also engage the community and incorporate feedback from West Loop stakeholders into any development plan.
This Master Development process is part of a larger corporate program to leverage the substantial Amtrak asset portfolio.