The controversial $1 billion, three-building skyscraper at the coveted Wolf Point plot has received blessing from Ald. Brendan Reily—a decision that has alienated some residents and bucked the popular neighborhood vote. The project must now pass inspection by a city panel before ground can be broken.
This River North project has been under consideration from the alderman of the 42nd ward for over a year; recently, the developers behind this project—the Kennedy Family and Hines Interests L.P.—have scrapped their original plans in order to make Wolf Point more “neighborhood friendly.” Some of these concessions include more open spaces in the development as well as funding to improve congested traffic areas surrounding the project. However, these proposed compromises have done little to curb the dissatisfaction of the collective neighborhood group.
The primary argument from residents is that the project will create too much traffic in an already densely populated area.
With Alderman Brendan Reily already in their pocket, the Kennedy-Hines group expects a relatively smooth ride from this point on as they come up against the Chicago Plan Commission and eventually City Council. The plans will be discussed as early as November 27th.
Though he has not provided any further public comment. Ald. Reily sent a reassuring email to his constituents that highlight his content with the project and praise for the developers giving their attention to the special needs of neighborhood residents. Furthermore, he went on to say that after a year of negotiations, analyses and consideration of the opposition, the development group has made all the necessary accommodations and he, in turn, pledges his unwavering support to the Wolf Point project.
One dissenting neighborhood group, the Friends of Wolf Point, isn’t as convinced as their alderman. They feel the developers have done little to address the density issue the community faces. The group has vowed to seek support and council from other prominent city agencies to make the point that the project is simply too big.
The proposed plan includes building three structures on a 3.9-acre parcel of land where the north and south branches of the Chicago River merge. The 525-ft structure on the west side of the plot will feature 510 residential apartments, while the other towers will extend 750 and 950 ft. respectively.
The talk coming from the development group is that they anticipate to get approved from the City Plan Commission this month and anticipate breaking ground on the project in early 2013.