CHICAGO — Lincoln Yards is undergoing big changes to its plans — but it could go before the city’s Chicago Plan Commission before the public gets a look at those changes.
The $5 billion development, which is being proposed by Sterling Bay, has faced controversy from neighboring residents and businesses. Earlier this week, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) pushed Sterling Bay into dropping its plans for a 20,000-seat soccer stadium and LiveNation-run music venues, both of which had been opposed by residents.
Sterling Bay said it was working on revised plans after ditching those ideas.
Hopkins could not immediately be reached for comment, but he told the Tribune’s Ryan Ori that the project will be on the Plan Commission’s agenda for Jan. 24 — though he doesn’t know yet if he supports it.
That could mean the project goes to the Plan Commission before residents have a chance to review and publicly meet over the revisions to the Lincoln Yards plan. Past meetings over the project have drawn large crowds.
“I’m still withholding my support,” Hopkins told the Tribune. “I may or may not have a statement of definitive support at the Plan Commission meeting. There’s still work to be done. We’ll see if Sterling Bay is able to hit the target with their next attempt to revise the master plan.”
Lincoln Yards will impact other wards as well, and Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) said she was surprised to hear that Hopkins was allowing the proposal to go before the Plan Commission before anyone sees the revised master plan.
“I have not yet spoken with Alderman Hopkins but I am surprised, because an alderman can defer an item such as this,” Smith told Block Club Chicago Thursday. “It’s causing a lot of distress, judging by the contacts our office has received since the story came out.”
Critics of the development, who created a nonprofit called Civl to organize others opposed to what they see as a rushed and secretive TIF process, said Lincoln Yards changing its controversial entertainment plans means the city should delay, not speed up, approving the Lincoln Yards plan. They also want the city to slow down on reviewing an $800 million taxpayer-funded subsidy that’s been proposed to help pay for the development.
“We are happy to see that the city and developer are responding to our concerns, but we see no change on the central issues we have raised,” said Civl co-chair Robert Gomez in a news release. “We oppose the creation of multiple music venues of undisclosed sizes in this so-called city within our city. We see no indication that LiveNation or some other corporate conglomerate won’t be running or leasing music venues in Lincoln Yards, even though the alderman has said Live Nation won’t own any of the venues.”