That Other Near South Wasteland is Now in Play

Source: The Chicago Architecture Blog

Written by on May 14, 2015

Apple Maps rendering of the Roosevelt Badlands

Earlier this week we told you that Australian mega-developer Lend Lease is moving forward with plans to turn a South Loop wasteland into a new complex of apartments, hotels, and retail space. That got a lot of people excited until they found out that it wasn’t the wasteland they were hoping for, it was another South Loop wasteland.

Well, get your hopes up once again because Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the half-mile-long badlands between Roosevelt Road and 16th Street are in play.  The business newspaper’s Alby Gallun reports that Related Midwest is licking its pencils to ink a deal with the property owner, General Mediterranean Holding out of Luxembourg, to replace the scrubland with homes, shops, restaurants, offices, hotels… Progress!

This comes at the same time that the city is beginning a big push to reconnect Wells Street from the area that was historically Chinatown down to the present-day Chinatown.  Related gets a free main thoroughfare just in time for it to start developing the property.  What luck!

Not surprisingly, Related, GMH, and 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis are all keeping their big bazoos shut about the project.  Hopefully when the ink dries they’ll start opening up a bit.  Broadly speaking, Related is good that way.

The 62-acre patch of bushes pockmarked with dog poo and river rat holes has a bit of political and legal intrigue tied to it.  If you’re the sort of person who likes old school Chicago politics, it’s worth reading the Crain’s article for the skinny on that.  It goes beyond the scope of what we do here.