04 Oct Tribune Media Announces Plans for Transformational Riverfront Development at 777 W. Chicago Avenue
The River District will convert 37 acres of underutilized industrial land into a dynamic new neighborhood that inspires innovation and community
October 4, 2017 – Tribune Real Estate Holdings, a subsidiary of Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO), today filed a planned development (PD) application with the city of Chicago for a transformational riverfront development at 777 W. Chicago Avenue (777). The proposed plan for the 777 site was submitted a month after Tribune Media and Riverside Investment & Development jointly filed a plan to redevelop Tribune Media’s neighboring site at 700 W. Chicago Avenue (700).
Located along the North Branch of the Chicago River, the phased redevelopment of 777 and 700 W. Chicago Avenue will be reimagined as The River District, a landmark urban tech-centric neighborhood that will reflect how people want to live and work. The new neighborhood extends Chicago’s downtown district and establishes a natural connection between The Loop, River North, Fulton Market, and River West.
Drawing from the best thinking and practices in urban planning, sustainable development, and established innovative work and live spaces, The River District will reaffirm Chicago as among the most innovative cities in the world.
“Our proposed plan for The River District builds on Mayor Emanuel’s North Branch Framework vision – to unlock growth by creating and connecting vibrant sustainable neighborhoods, and attracting and retaining new jobs and talent. Chicago’s growth and innovation as a result of the Framework will cement it as a top destination for companies and talent, and we view The River District as a major contributor to the future success of the city,” said Murray McQueen, president of Tribune Real Estate Holdings. “The River District plan leverages best practices from Chicago and other major cities and reflects how people want to live and work today. Our goal is to create the same in-demand dynamic neighborhood seen in tech centers such as San Francisco and Seattle.”
As Chicago looks to further establish itself as a hub for innovation and technology, the site will become the heart of city’s “Tech Triangle”, which includes the Merchandise Mart and 600 W. Chicago (the Montgomery Ward building) on the east, the UI Labs on Goose Island on the north, and the Google headquarters in the West Loop.
“Expanding the Downtown District in the ‘Tech Triangle’ will create the city’s first innovation district and become a city within a city, where people will live, work, play, and innovate,” said McQueen.
Once completed, The River District will achieve an appropriate balance of mixed-uses where demand is great, the tax base will expand, thousands of jobs will be created and the city will realize not only the property’s initial development fees, but a multiplier of the potential property taxes, sales taxes and various user taxes generated from the new site.
Under the current plan for 777, more than 9 million square feet of mixed-use development rights will accommodate over 19,000 jobs and 5,900 residential units. More than 18,000 construction jobs will be created in the build-out of the site. Approximately $1.1 billion in municipal tax benefit to the city will be generated by the project over the next 20 years.
McQueen added, “The River District is based on our vision for the site, on which we have been working with the city for a number of years.”
Benefits from the redevelopment of 777 will include significant infrastructure upgrades including transportation improvements, expansive publicly accessible green space and river access, and utility enhancements.
- Increases public access and green space: 25%, or more than 12 acres, of The River District will be dedicated to public use. This includes 5.1 acres of riverfront improvements, a public park, associated pocket parks to activate the building/streetscape relationship and site-wide landscaping.
- Celebrates the Riverwalk expansion: As part of the Riverwalk expansion, the space will feature 3,200 linear feet (more than half a mile) of continuous publicly accessible pedestrian paths on the river.
- Supports City’s pedestrian and bike programs: The plan capitalizes on natural connections to surrounding neighborhoods by providing pedestrian and bike path connections and direct visibility from nearby streets. The site will also include multiple Divvy bike-share stations.
- Improves Infrastructure Enhancements: Under the plan, a major arterial boulevard linking Grand to Chicago and an extension of the city grid at Ancona and Superior will be built and associated signalized intersections installed. Viaduct construction to connect to Halsted and Chicago and site-wide upgrade of utilities will be made, and the plan calls for a sustainably developed storm water management system and access to high-speed fiber throughout the site.
Pending City approval, the first phase of the redevelopment of 777 will occur on the site’s southern end, on 18 “shovel ready” acres that could support 5.5 million square feet beginning in 2020. The second phase redeveloping the remaining 12 acres could later be built-out based on market demand and support an additional 3.7 million square feet.
“This master plan helps the city achieve its vision to transition from the North Branch Industrial Corridor and ensure the area remains an important economic engine and vital job center in the city of Chicago,” added McQueen.
Downloadable high-resolution renderings of the project can be found here. All images should be attributed to Solomon Cordwell Buenz.
Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) is home to a diverse portfolio of television and digital properties driven by quality news, entertainment and sports programming. Tribune Media is comprised of Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 owned or operated local television stations reaching approximately 50 million households, national entertainment cable network WGN America, whose reach is approximately 80 million households, Tribune Studios, and a variety of digital applications and websites commanding 60 million monthly unique visitors online. Tribune Media also includes Chicago’s WGN-AM and the national multicast networks Antenna TV and THIS TV. Additionally, the Company owns and manages a significant number of real estate properties across the U.S. and holds a variety of investments, including a 31% interest in Television Food Network, G.P., which operates Food Network and Cooking Channel. For more information please visit www.tribunemedia.com.
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