Chicago is without doubt one of the greatest cities in the US and the world. In some ways like the UK’s Brighton, Chicago is unique, with its own systems, unwritten codes, and ways of doing things. Like almost every city, street, town, suburb and person in America, Chicago has lost some of its sheen to the financial crisis and cuts in public spending. But International Property Developers Inc plan on restoring a huge chunk of central Chicago to its former glory. They have just (July 21) filed plans for a new $3.5 billion development, which will include the tallest tower in the US.
The proposed 2000 foot (610 meters) would be taller than both the 1,729-foot Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, which is near the site of the new development, and the 1,776-foot 1 World Trade Centre being built in New York.
“It’s an incredible site,” said Martin Mulryan, the project manager on the development for International Property. “There’s no other opportunity like this in the U.S.”
To be sure, the development is nothing short of spectacular. When its 3 stages are completed in 10 years it will include:
- · 6.2 million square feet of entertainment space, including retail and restaurants
- · 4.1 million square feet of hotel space in 7,500 rooms
- · 3.8 million square feet of residential space
- · 2 million square feet of office space
- · 12,000 parking spaces, free for shoppers
- · 20 acre rooftop garden and park
- · Commitment to state-of-the-art green building standards
- · River walks along the east and west banks of the Chicago River
The proposed 20 acre development will be centred on the historic old post office building on the banks of the Chicago River in the southwest area of downtown, which IPD purchased for about $25 million in 2009. But according to the firm apart from acquiring the post office building, it has spent the last 2 years acquiring plots and buildings surrounding it, so it could create what it calls an “urban experience”.
“Achieving ownership of the former post office was incredible but working with our team over the last two years identifying neighbouring parcels and outlining this vision has been nothing short of spectacular,’ said Bill Davies, Chairman of International Property Developers. ‘This is not just about one building, one street or one block. This is about vision in what we can achieve and confidence in achieving that vision in one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Phase 1 is expected to start in 2012 and by completion in 2015 will have turned the main old post office building into a retail and entertainment centre featuring two hotels, free parking, a winter garden and a river walk along the west bank of the Chicago River. Phase 2 (Development of the Western Portion of the Property) will add two hotels and retail space plus a mixed-use office, residential and commercial tower on the east side by 2019. And Phase 3 (Development of the south-eastern portion of the property) will add two residential buildings, additional free parking, retail and a river walk along the east bank of the Chicago River, to complete the entire development in 2022.
The development will certainly be good for the area; adding 12,000 jobs during construction and 20,000 permanent jobs, as well as rejuvenating an entire area of Chicago’s loop. I certainly can’t see planning permission having any trouble.