LaSalle Street's Evolution into a Mixed-Use Neighborhood | World Business Chicago



LaSalle Street’s Evolution into a Mixed-Use Neighborhood

LaSalle Street’s Evolution into a Mixed-Use Neighborhood

The role of the city center is not just catering to office workers; it’s catering to everyone in the city. It’s a much more inclusive construct, but by default, that makes it a much more interesting place.”—Ian Mulcahey, Cities & Urban Design, Gensler

Despite the enduring challenges stemming from the pandemic, central business districts across the nation continue to navigate complexities such as business closures, diminished foot traffic, and widespread office vacancies.

However, Chicago stands apart in its resilience, historically demonstrating a knack for rebuilding and adapting in the face of adversity.

Today, in the bustling heart of the Loop, a transformative journey is poised to unfold, under the visionary leadership of Mayor Johnson’s administration. Spearheaded by the dedicated team led by Department of Planning & Development Commissioner Ciere Boatright, plans for an ambitious narrative of renewal are gaining momentum.

On April 3, 2024, Mayor Brandon Johnson announced that four adaptive re-use proposals consisting of more than 1,000 units of mixed-income housing are being advanced for City financial assistance while two additional proposals continue to be reviewed. Collectively representing more than $525 million in total investments, the projects will repurpose 1.3 million square feet of vacant space, including the creation of more than 300 homes that will be affordable to residents earning an average 60% of the area median income.

This transformative project heralds a significant leap in the availability of affordable housing within the Loop. The infusion of more than 300 affordable units marks a staggering nearly 1000% surge in such housing, where presently only 32 affordable housing units stand today.

The impact of these projects extends beyond just housing. With a total space exceeding 1.3 million square feet, the redevelopment initiative will repurpose five million square feet of vacant commercial space along the LaSalle corridor, effectively reducing vacancy rates by more than 25%.

These projects stand as a crucial response to the urgent demand for affordable housing options among the downtown workforce. Over 128,000 individuals working in the downtown area lack suitable housing options due to their income levels. This workforce, which has seen a 6.37% increase in recent years, represents a diverse range of occupations, including transportation workers, security guards, and service industry workers.

Meet the four adaptive re-use projects:

30 N. LaSalle

30 N. LaSalle will feature 349 units, including 105 affordable ones, this development will also include ground-floor retail spaces and additional greenery along Washington and LaSalle streets.

208 S. LaSalle

208 S. LaSalle Street will feature 226 units, including 68 affordable ones, this project will integrate residential units between the JW Marriott Hotel and the LaSalle Hotel, offering a unique blend of historic charm and modern living.

111 W. Monroe

The 111 W. Monroe development will offer 345 units, including 105 affordable ones. Plans include reviving the former Monroe Club on the rooftop, and providing shared amenities for residents and hotel guests, including a restaurant and swimming pool.

79 W. Monroe

79 W. Monroe will feature 117 units across eight floors, with 41 designated as affordable.

Downtown Investment

The LaSalle Corridor Revitalization project stands at the forefront of downtown Chicago’s renewal, strategically positioned alongside two other significant investments, the transformation of the Thompson Center, and J.P. Morgan‘s major renovation plans for Chase Tower.

Not only will they create thousands of local construction jobs and stimulate additional employment across various industries, but they also represent a commitment to sustainable, state-of-the-art homes and workplaces that will shape the future landscape of Chicago for generations to come.

These redevelopment projects honor the city’s architectural heritage and foster a sense of community and innovation in the heart of the city. With a blend of affordability, sustainability, and historical preservation, LaSalle Street, and the surrounding central business district, stand poised for a vibrant and inclusive future.

This edition of Business Pulse was co-written by Robin Ficke, SVP, Research, and Andrew Hayes, VP, Marketing Communications, World Business Chicago.


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