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Old Posted Jun 14, 2019, 2:36 PM
animositisomina animositisomina is offline
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot says ‘jury’s out’ on whether One Central megadevelopment will proceed

Illinois legislators this spring authorized state officials to enter into an agreement for up to $5.1 billion in state investments for the proposed megadevelopment along Lake Shore Drive across from Soldier Field that would place a huge transit station over train tracks between McCormick Place and the Field Museum.

Creation of the transit center would bring together CTA, Metra and Amtrak trains, while also creating the platform on which Landmark Development would build up to 20 million square feet of new office, residential and hotel high-rises, as well as other buildings.

The development could take about 15 years to complete at a cost of about $20 billion, not including transit center costs, the developer previously said.

Lightfoot was asked about the project at an unrelated news conference and said what the developer received from Springfield was an opportunity to be eligible for federal dollars. Then she reiterated concerns she’s previously expressed about the project.

“I met with them and I think I gave an unequivocal guidance which is that they can’t ignore public comment, they can’t ignore elected officials whose jurisdictions are implicated by the possibility of this,” Lightfoot said. “I’m not sure that having a transportation hub in that area is a priority for us, but fundamentally, the message that we left them with is that they have to go through the normal department of planning process and there aren’t going to be any shortcuts to that.”

Asked whether it’s a question of how the project develops, not whether it develops, Lightfoot said, “No, I think I’ve just said, I have questions as to whether or not we need a transportation hub.”

The developer is “going to have to make the case and they’re going to have to go through a rigorous community process, there are going to be residents along the western border of the proposed project that are going to be deeply affected by high-rises going up and blocking their view of the lake,” Lightfoot said. “They have to submit themselves to a vigorous community engagement and we made that unequivocally clear. The jury’s out as to whether or not this project proceeds. We won’t know that until they go forward.”
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