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Take a look at plans for a 34-acre South Loop development built atop the Metra rails

Written by
Marty Johnson

The list of mega-developments potentially taking shape in Chicago just got bigger. Last night at a community meeting, Wisconsin-based company Landmark Development unveiled renderings for One Central, a multibillion-dollar proposal that could revitalize 34 acres of the South Loop.

At the center of the project is a new transit hub that would be located southwest of Soldier Field. The proposed station would be the largest transit hub in Chicago, with access to Metra, Amtrak and CTA trains. A building sitting above the transportation center could house restaurants, shops, hotels and entertainment options for travelers and residents alike. Landmark Development has also proposed the creation of an autonomous tram system, called the Chi-Line, that would offer service between McCormick Place and North Michigan Avenue via a route that runs parallel to the existing Metra tracks.

The remainder of the development would be built on a gigantic platform set atop a portion of the Metra rails that run through the South Loop. Renderings for the project depict a series of new high-rises and skyscrapers that are situated between the Field Museum and the northernmost portion of McCormick Place. One Central would extend Chicago's skyline south to 21st Street, where some tall buildings have already sprung up around the Wintrust Arena and McCormick Place.

The current plans for One Central also include more than 15 acres of new parks and green space, as well as a Lake Shore Drive walkway that would make it easier to access Soldier Field and the Museum Campus from the South Loop.

Beyond a multibillion-dollar estimate, the One Central proposal doesn't have an exact price tag or a concrete source of financing, though Landmark Development's press release states that the project won't seek tax increment financing from the city. With large-scale development projects like Lincoln Yards mired in controversy, Landmark Development will likely face an uphill battle to get One Central approved. And even if the ambitious project does pass muster and break ground, it could be a long time before anyone is able to make use of it—Landmark's current estimates point to a 15-year wait before the project is completed.

Take a look at renderings of Landmark Development's proposed One Central project below.

One Central

Illustration: Courtesy Perkins + Will

One Central

Illustration: Courtesy Perkins + Will

One Central

Illustration: Courtesy Perkins + Will

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