Just days after Second Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins told his constituents that he won’t support Sterling Bay’s vision for the massive Lincoln Yards development, the West Town developer is out with plan B.
The main sticking point in the original plan was an entertainment district, anchored by a soccer stadium and a number of live music venues owned by massive global entertainment octopus Live Nation.
It’s not that the alderman and his voters don’t like music or sports. It’s just that they’d like some adequate public park space, and freedom from the headaches that come from having 20,000 soccer fans and an unknown number of music fans right on their doorsteps. The alderman wrote:
I have informed planning officials at Sterling Bay, the developer of the proposed Lincoln Yards project, that I am not in support of a major sports and entertainment arena within either of their two planned development districts now under consideration.
Sterling Bay’s response was to drop the stadium and entertainment venues and replace them with park space — something neighborhood groups have been clamoring for from the beginning. The new plan for Lincoln Yards almost doubles the open space to 6.2 acres. That’s about 4½ football fields.
“This update will also allow for a walkable, mixed-use district that is more pedestrian-oriented around the adjacent park space. Coupled with the opportunity to shift the Dominick Street connection across the Chicago River further east, these changes will improve connectivity, while continuing to respect local businesses,” Sterling Bay wrote on its web site.
Mr. Hopkins warns, however, that Lincoln Yards is still a long way from a done deal. “The process is ongoing and will continue to be refined over many years, if not decades.”