Megadevelopments, or grand-scale developments combining residential, commercial, and public use amenity components, have been the trend as of late. One Central is one such megadevelopment in the pipeline with a transit-based focus.
Under current plans from developer, Landmark, One Central will transform about 32 acres of rail yards between the McCormick Place Convention Center and the Museum Campus on the Near South Side into a new neighborhood. According to the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, this “new neighborhood” will consist of high rises totaling 9,050 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of retail space, 9.45 million square feet of office space, 1.5 million square feet of hotel space, 350,000 square feet of event space, and parking, all anchored by a new multi-modal transit hub.
In an interview with the Sun Times, Bob Dunn, president of Landmark development, says he looks at the transit hub as “being transformative for the next generation”. He explained that the 3.8 billion dollar transit project would be a game changer in Chicago transportation by connecting the Metra (which mostly services Chicagoland suburban commuters), the CTA (which services neighborhoods of Chicago proper), the Amtrak (which services neighboring suburbs as well as other states), and a new fourth transit line that would connect McCormick Place convention center directly to downtown. Dunn projects this new hub where the four transit lines would converge would eventually serve twice as many people as Union Station currently does and went on to frame One Central as “a civic project” because of all the people it would serve.
A new factor in the equation of One Central is the Chicago Bears’ decision to move their stadium to suburban Arlington Heights from their current stadium at Soldier Field, adjacent to the site of One Central. Although there is hardly any concrete information on what’s to become of Soldier Field, given Dunn’s existing plans for the surrounding area, one can speculate he’ll have a vision for the space.
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