Lincoln Yards (development)
|Architect||Skidmore, Owings & Merrill|
Lincoln Yards is a proposed mixed-use development project located on the North Side of Chicago between the Lincoln Park and Bucktown communities. If built as planned, it will include apartments, condos, office, retail, and entertainment. The proposals have proven unpopular with Chicago architectural critics and residents.
If built according to plan, Lincoln Yards would occupy more than 50 acres of land located on both sides of the North Branch of the Chicago River. It would be bounded by Webster Avenue on the north, Clybourn Avenue on the east, North Avenue on the south, and the Kennedy Expressway on the west.
A. Finkl & Sons Steel operated a mill along a roughly 22-acre lot along the eastern portion of the Chicago River in the Lincoln Park neighborhood from 1902 until it was demolished in 2012. The Lincoln Park location was Chicago's oldest steel mill. In 2006, it bought the site of the former Verson Steel on Chicago's South Side. It was purchased by a German company in 2008, and has since operated from that location. Since the demolition, there have been various proposals to connect the site to the Bloomingdale Trail.
In 2016, real estate developer Sterling Bay purchased the Lincoln Park site for a sum believed to be over $100 million and renamed the site "Lincoln Yards". The developer released plans designed by Chicago-based architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in July 2018. In exchange for an increase in density to allow for the substantial construction, Sterling Bay is to pay an $89 million fee and will make infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood to ease the increase in traffic. Sterling Bay estimates construction will take up to a decade.
The developer intended to dedicate a portion of the development to a stadium and a concert venue. Tom Ricketts, owner of the Cubs, owns a stake in the stadium. Multiple Live Nation music venues were also proposed. Local residents indicated they did not want a stadium or venue. In early 2019, a Chicago alderman rejected this part of the proposal, suggesting that the development instead include more green space.
Revised plans, released in January 2019, no longer include the stadium and incorporate more green space, roughly doubling the amount of space previously dedicated to parks. Ten aldermen have declared their opposition to financing the revised project with $900 million of tax increment financing, arguing that more affordable housing should be provided on-site. Despite these changes to the plans, the development remains unpopular with residents and architectural critics.
In April 2019, Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times that her staff would, during her first post-election weekend, spend time examining the city's 600-page agreement with Sterling Bay regarding the development, believing that the city could reach a better deal. However, later that month the Chicago City Council approved plans for Lincoln Yards, including a tax increment financing agreement.
The development was one of ten proposed locations that could have hosted the second headquarters of Amazon if the company chose Chicago. Amazon representatives toured the site in 2017. Amazon ultimately selected two other locations for their second headquarters.
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