Lincoln Yards is a $6 billion mixed-use project planned by developer Sterling Bay for 53 acres of mostly vacant land within the North Branch Industrial Corridor in the Lincoln Park and West Town community areas. The project will include up to 14 million square feet of new commercial and residential construction, including up to 6,000 residential units with a 20 percent affordability requirement, 21 acres of public open space, multiple infrastructure and transportation improvements, and more than $120 million in development fees.
Community engagement for the project, including the North Branch Framework process, began in 2016 and continued into 2019. Feedback specific to the Lincoln Yards project was gathered from various community meetings, stakeholder group meetings and block club meetings, as well as more than 2,000 responses to three community surveys.
Zoning for Lincoln Yards was approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in January 2019 and by City Council in March 2019. A Tax Increment Financing district and Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) with Sterling Bay was approved by the Community Development Commission in February 2019 and by City Council in April 2019.
According to the RDA, $490 million in future increment from the Cortland/Chicago River TIF District will reimburse Sterling Bay for the construction of new public infrastructure identified during the community engagement process, including:
- $160 million to build new vehicular bridges at Dominick Street, Armitage Avenue and Concord Place
- $110 million to rebuild the intersection at Elston Avenue and Armitage
- $96 million for new roadways
- $54 million for improvements to existing roadways
- $45 million for riverwall improvements
- $25 million toward the extension of The 606
The developer is also committing approximately $293 million in private funding toward public improvements, including:
- $77 million to finance 21 acres of public open space
- $64 million toward the extension of The 606 trail
- $48 million to fund a public riverwalk
- $46 million for riverwall improvements
- $33 million to finance improvements of existing roads within the development, including portions of Dickens, Wabansia, Magnolia and Ada
- $24 million in environmental remediation and site prep
- $1 million toward water taxi stations
Community Advisory Council
A Lincoln Yards Community Advisory Council announced by Mayor Lightfoot in December 2019 serves as a conduit for community input as construction moves forward over the next three years. The 14-member CAC consists of neighborhood representatives, community leaders, design professionals, and subject-matter experts appointed by Mayor Lightfoot and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) in consultation with local stakeholders. The group meets quarterly, making advisory recommendations ranging from public infrastructure design to traffic control to open space, among other issues. CAC members include:
- Kenneth Dotson
- Linda Goodman
- Nick Mulvaney
- Margaret Frisbie
- Phillip Edison
- Jonathan Snyder
- Jacob Peters
- Jacky Grimshaw
- Rosanna Marquez
- Maria Villalobos
- Courtney Kashima
- Ernest Sawyer
- Andrea Craft
- Juanita Irizarry
Phase one site work for Lincoln Yards is underway. Once completed, the first phase will consist of up to 1.32 million square feet of offices, 108,000 square feet of retail and 1,400 parking spaces between Dominick Street and the Chicago River south of Webster Avenue. To date, 25,000 tons of contaminated soil has been removed, 200 cubic yards of lead soil has been treated, and 30 underground storage tanks have been removed. Additionally, three ballfields known as Fleet Fields opened in July 2019 at 1397 W. Wabansia Ave.
While the design for the new Throop Street Bridge has been completed, the start date for construction remains to be determined. The bridge will provide a new river crossing between Cortland and North avenues, better connecting the transportation network on the North Side and providing more access to the Lincoln Yards site.
The Throop bridge has been designed with all modes of transportation in mind, including vehicular travel lanes, sidewalks, and a two-way separated bike lane, providing a safe crossing for people walking and biking. The bike lane will be protected from traffic by a concrete curb and will extend north of the bridge connecting to the existing bike network at Southport and Armitage avenues, and south of the bridge to Concord Place.
In consultation with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the CAC, the development team decided to name the bridge for Throop Street instead of the original name, Dominick Street, because Throop is a more recognizable road name in the city's grid network.