BUCKTOWN — Sterling Bay on Tuesday revealed detailed plans for the next phase of its Lincoln Yards megadevelopment, which include an office building, residential apartments and a park to be built along the Chicago River.
The developer held an open house Tuesday at its Lincoln Yards Experience Center, 1654 N. Throop St., to showcase plans for the buildings, a promenade that will run between them and space for retail, restaurants and two entertainment venues.
A Sterling Bay spokesperson said the developer is “evaluating input from [Tuesday’s] open house event, and we’ll be providing responses over the course of the project.'”
The complex planned for 1685 N. Throop St., dubbed Parcel C.1, will include about 460,000 square feet of office space, retail and entertainment options, according to information posted on the city’s Department of Planning and Development’s website.
That building will include two venues with a combined capacity of about 4,500 people.
Plans for live entertainment at Lincoln Yards have been a source of controversy for the development for years.
In 2018, Sterling Bay announced mega-promoter Live Nation would operate a $5 billion “entertainment district” at the site.
But after months of pushback from independent venue owners, the Live Nation plan was scrapped in early 2019, along with a planned soccer stadium.
At the time, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), whose ward includes the Lincoln Yards site, said the proposed venue would be replaced by “restaurants, theaters and smaller venues that will be scattered throughout the site,” none of which would have Live Nation ownership.
Hopkins reiterated last month that Live Nation would not have an ownership stake in any Lincoln Yards venue, but “what that means going forward to things like booking, artist management, will Live Nation artists eventually be able to play at Lincoln Yards venues, all that I think remains to be determined,” he said.
Just north of the C.1 office building, a residential tower labeled Parcel D.1 will feature about 355,000 square feet of apartments and retail.
Plans show a public promenade will be built between the two buildings, connecting pedestrians to a riverwalk and a public park labeled Parcel B.1.
Construction on the site will begin in “quarter two or quarter three” of 2022, with a completion date in 2024, said Martin Wood, vice president of development services for Sterling Bay.
The first phase of the park is expected to be completed alongside the residential and office buildings. It will feature a dog park, tennis and basketball courts and a play area for younger children.
The second phase, which plans show will include turf playing fields and other recreational spaces, is expected to be completed by 2025.
At Tuesday’s open house, some neighbors said they’d like to see plans for the park amended to make it more public-facing and accessible to Chicagoans who aren’t going to live at Lincoln Yards.
“The orientation of this park is really towards the apartment building which now lies next to it,” said Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), whose ward includes parts of Lincoln Park near the development. “There’s no place in this park where a family from outside this development will come with a barbecue. … It reads as a private park. Where do people from Logan Square, Cabrini Green, where do they have to go here?”
In response, a Sterling Bay spokesperson said in a statement that “as mandated by the Planned Development, passed by the city in 2019, the park space will be open to everyone and Sterling Bay will operate the parks in a manner consistent with the practices of the Chicago Park District, offering the use of this park space for free and open play, organized league play and special events.”
“We appreciate the project is complex, but these points have remained the same since its onset, and everyone who has taken the time to understand the project understands these points implicitly,” the spokesperson said.
The plans presented Tuesday are the latest step in the extended timeline for the $6 billion Lincoln Yards development.
Residents, business owners and activists fought the project for months in 2018 and early 2019. But in April 2019, City Council voted to approve $1.3 billion in subsidies for Lincoln Yards.
Sterling Bay broke ground on the first Lincoln Yards building in October: an eight-story life sciences center dubbed ALLY at1229 W. Concord Place. It will feature research labs and office space.
The Lincoln Yards TIF district, named the Cortland and Chicago River TIF, will generate at least $900 million to cover the cost of infrastructure projects throughout the development.
That includes extending Throop Street past its terminus at Wabansia Avenue to cross the Chicago River, connecting the northern and southern portions of the development.
The site will also feature a new Metra station and an extension of the Bloomingdale Trail.
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