Chicago riverside real estate project moves towards becoming a reality

The Wolf Point real estate project was announced late May, promising to be “downtown Chicago’s largest new real estate development since the 2008 financial crisis,” made up of three towers along the Chicago River, the Chicago Tribune reported. The project is expected to cost more than $1 billion to complete and will encompass nearly 3 million square feet, made up of offices and an apartment complex. The tallest of the three towers will be Chicago’s new eighth-tallest building and will incorporate a slope-roofed structure extending more than 900 feet.

Members of the Kennedy family are strong financial backers for the construction project, and chairman of Kennedy Enterprises Christopher Kennedy described the project as giving “a great boost of confidence” to downtown Chicago. The Kennedy family has owned Wolf Point since the 1940s but make up only a portion of financial backers, with others including Magellan Development Group, Hines, and a “very prominent investor who is testing the waters in Chicago,” according to Kennedy.

The highest tower is expected to rise 925 feet, with the other office tower approximated at 700 feet tall. It will be located on the eastern side of the complex, next to the Merchandise Mart. The south tower completion is aimed for 2016 with the east tower completion to follow by 2020, with plans of marketing the skyscrapers to law firms, corporations, tech firms and professional service firms.

The proposed project is not without opposition, with residents from a nearby high-rise complaining the new towers would block views to the east, potentially devaluing their homes. There are additional fears that the construction of the project will increase traffic issues in the already congested portion of the city. Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly, whose ward includes Wolf Point, maintained that he would be working with Hines and Metra, the commuter rail company, “to ensure that the project’s impact on the area would be minimal,” reported the Chicago Journal.

One of the intended perks to the new development is the addition of a 1.5-acre park on the Chicago Riverwalk, which is first on the list for construction, anticipated to be complete in about 13 months. After that opens, the office tower construction project would begin and follow for an expected two years. With one of the towers set aside as residences, expected to reach 500 feet in height and planned to be completed by 2014, the landscape for real estate options in downtown Chicago will be changing. The aim is to market the building to young professionals, with roughly 500 units to go up at an average size of 750 square feet each. When looking at real estate in Chicago, factor in this emerging giant in downtown real estate.