Friends of the Parks: Free Lecture
The annual Netsch Lecture’s are going virtual for now. This presentation and panel focus on Public Park Space Models in the Midst of Mega-developments.
When: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 12noon-1:30pm
Where: Click here to register for the FREE virtual Netsch Lecture The Netsch Lecture Series is free and open to the public.
I’ve been to most of the Friends of the Parks lectures (live) and they are excellent with knowledgeable speakers and interesting topics, including issues on development, maintenance and improvement to our parks, the environment, urban planning and public policy.
Netsch Lecture: Public Park Space Models in the Midst of Mega-developments
This lecture and discussion will include focus on public space in the three mega-developments in Chicago – the Michael Reese site redevelopment, The 78 and Lincoln Yards. More info on these projects below. Participants include: Morgan Malone, Farpoint Development; Paola Aguirre, Borderless Studio and The 78 Community Advisory Council; Ben Helphand, NeighborSpace and Debbie Liu, Ping Tom Park Advisory Council and The 78 Community Advisory Council co-chair.
Friends of the Parks: Free Lecture – Michael Reese redevelopment
In February 2021, the Chicago Plan Commission approved the $3.8 billion redevelopment plan for the former Michael Reese Hospital site located between 29th and 31st Streets, and S. Cottage Grove and S. Lake Park Avenues. The Hospital complex on the 48.6-acre site closed in 2008. The City acquired the property in 2009, for that nonsensical and failed Olympics bid by Hizzoner Daley #2, and cleared the land except for one building. It’s not clear how much taxpayers contribute to this project.
A consortium known as GRIT is going to implement the above approved 7.8 million square feet mixed-use redevelopment on the site. GRIT is comprised of Farpoint Development, Loop Capital Management, McLaurin Development Partners, Draper & Kramer, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and Bronzeville Community Development Partnership.
The project will be a phased, mixed-income community that includes a health innovation hub, retail and commercial, public green and community spaces, and a variety of market rate and affordable housing options for families and seniors. The plan will also reuse the Singer Pavilion(pdf), the only remaining Reese building on the site. I think there will be 10 acres of open space. As a comparison Maggie Daley Park is 10 acres. Read more about it here.
The 78 is a $7 billion 63 acre mixed-use mega-developmeent by Related Midwest on former railroad property along the South Branch of the Chicago River in the Near South Side. $700 million is taxpayer dollars. This project includes 13 million square feet of new commercial, residential and institutional construction, multiple infrastructure improvements including a new Red Line subway station at 15th Street, and 20 percent affordable housing. This project has 12 acres of open space. Phase one and two construction of the Wells-Wentworth connection is complete. Supposedly the rest of the project is expected to be complete by the end of 2021. Read more about it here.
Lincoln Yards is a $6 billion 53 acre mixed-use project by Sterling Bay in a former industrial corridor in Lincoln Park and West Town. $1.3 billion is taxpayer dollars. The project will include up to 14 million square feet of commercial and residential construction, including 20 percent affordable housing, multiple infrastructure and transportation improvements including bridges, water taxi stations, and and an extension of The 606. This project includes 21 acres of public open space. Read more about it here
About the Friends of the Parks’ Walter Netsch Lecture Series
The series honors renowned architect Walter Netsch’s vision and leadership that changed the culture of the Chicago Park District in the 1980’s. My understanding is that after Harold Washington died he wasn’t supported and resigned and many of the changes Netsch made were undone and patronage and mismanagement resumed at the Park District. Anyway, the lecture series offers free quarterly lectures on topics of parks, the environment, urban planning and public policy.