Suzanne Lovell Inc

Architecture

Neighborhood #78 for Chicago

July 28, 2018

The 78, covering 62 acres, is one of the larges undeveloped parcels in the entire city.

Image courtesy of: Curbed Chicago, photographed by: Mark Segal

Chicago is a city broken up into 77 neighborhoods, but not for much longer! A massive mixed use
development project by Related Midwest in partnership with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill known as “the
78” intends to change that. This currently vacant riverfront location covers over 62 acres, and is bordered by Roosevelt Street, South Clark Street, 18th Street and the Chicago River. When completed, it will be so large that it will officially become Chicago’s 78th neighborhood!

An aerial view of the master planing looking eastward.

Image courtesy of: 78 Chicago

This entire project will include a variety of building types and open public spaces. From retail and restaurant to residential and office spaces; from over 900 ft tall skyscrapers to a 7 acre crescent-shaped park that will follow the original path of the Chicago River through the site, this project is a gargantuan undertaking!
A positive to the city is that the 78 includes substantial infrastructure improvements. The Metra rail line will be enclosed to reduce noise and preserve air quality. New city streets and entry points will be added, to create an extremely accessible neighborhood and a new Red Line CTA station will provide additional public transit options for residents and visitors alike.

“Crescent Park” rendering by SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill).

Image courtesy of: Curbed Chicago

In addition to all of the above, the 78 will also vastly reshape the transit system in the area! The Metra rail line will be moved west and enclosed, and a new CTA Red Line stop will be added. New pedestrian promenades, restaurants and bike paths will open up the riverfront and make it accessible to the people again! The entire project is expected to take two decades and cost more than $5 billion which will make
it one of the largest single development projects in Chicago’s history! We can’t wait to hear more about
this project as it gets underway, and more details of specific buildings as they are announced!

Potentially, the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) will be housed at the 78. The DPI hopes to be the nation’s newest research institute and Interdisciplinary Innovation Center.

Image courtesy of: Curbed Chicago

The plans for the $1.2 billion research facility are ambitious. Meant to be operated by the University of Illinois, the DPI would serve as an important endpoint in statewide public-private research network, the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN). Hopefully, this network will be helpful in keeping young research stars and innovators in the state. In addition, the IIN hopes to connect academics to industry professionals.

A rendering of the 78’s Educational Hub and Riverwalk, as suggested by SOM.

Image courtesy of: Chicago Architecture

The 78 is proposed for the South Loop, in an area that has been described as a wasteland just south of Roosevelt Road and alongside the Chicago River. In addition to bringing innovations to the city, a half-mile long and 100 feet wide addition to the Chicago Riverwalk will be added. The project is still a dream… no funding, either public or private, has been suggested. Like we all know too well, that what must happen for the project to ultimately be given a given the “green light”.

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