Plan Changes for Chicago’s Lincoln Yards Project
Ryan Ori reports on the Lincoln Yards development proposal in Chicago. “The developer [Sterling Bay], among the busiest in the city, is redrawing its plans in an effort to secure city zoning approval for a project that, even pared down, would be among the most ambitious mixed-use developments in the city in decades.”
The revised plan covers just over 75 percent of the 70-acre parcel. It drops the maximum building height to 650 feet, which was previously 800 feet, and increases open space from 13.4 acres to almost 21 acres.
Sterling Bay was responding to feedback after the first community meeting in July, which raised concerns about traffic, park and open space, and the effect the development would have on businesses and schools in the area. “[Alderman Brian] Hopkins said he wants to see more specifics on many aspects of the plan — including much-needed infrastructure improvements in an area already plagued by traffic congestion,” reports Ori.
Sterling Bay has discussed possible plans for building new road, transit, and other public infrastructure. “[Mayor Rahm] Emanuel’s outgoing administration recently said it wants to create sources of funding, including new tax increment financing districts to help pay for those projects,” says Ori.
The prospect of a Lincoln Yards TIF district is already generating skepticism and concern. Critics say that crucial funds will be diverted from schools and local government agencies and that the TIF plan is being pushed through too quickly before Mayor Emanuel steps down next year.