The 78 is a $7 billion mixed-use project planned by developer Related Midwest for 62 acres of former railroad property along the South Branch of the Chicago River in the Near South Side community area. The project will include up to 13 million square feet of new commercial, residential and institutional construction, 12 acres of open space, multiple infrastructure improvements including a new Red Line subway station at 15th Street, and a 20 percent affordable housing commitment for up to 10,000 residential units.
In addition, the developer is donating approximately an acre of land on the site to the University of Illinois for the construction of the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), a new research and innovation center focused on building a stronger tech ecosystem in the region. More information on the proposed center is available on the DPI website.
Community engagement for The 78 took place between 2016 and 2019 through public meetings, stakeholder meetings, and block club meetings involving more than 2,800 people.
Zoning for The 78 was approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in November 2018 and by City Council in December 2018. A Tax Increment Financing district and Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) with Related Midwest was approved by the Community Development Commission in February 2019 and by City Council in April 2019.
According to the RDA, $551 million in future increment from the Roosevelt/Clark TIF District will reimburse Related Midwest for the construction of new public infrastructure identified during the community engagement process, including:
- $364 million to fund a new CTA Red Line subway station at 15th and Clark
- $85 million to realign Metra tracks though the site
- $79 million toward improvements on Clark Street
- $13 million for the extension of 15th Street
- $10 million for the reconstruction of the rivefront seawall
Prior site-related projects funded by TIF include the Wells-Wentworth Connector and the Taylor Street bridge. The developer is also committing approximately $200 million in private funding toward public improvements, including:
- $100 million toward a half-mile public riverwalk
- $50 million toward improvements on 13th, 14th and LaSalle streets
- $30 million toward eight acres of public open space
- $10 million toward seawall reconstruction
Community Advisory Council
A 78 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 17-member CAC consists of neighborhood representatives, community leaders, design professionals, and subject-matter experts appointed by Mayor Lightfoot and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) 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:
- Adam Ballard
- Mary Gonzalez
- Jamie Brown
- Robert Hoy
- Armando Chacon
- Debbie Liu
- Dawn Charles
- Janet Smith
- A.C. Chauhan
- Paola Aguirre Serrano
- Guacolda Reyes
- Adam Flickinger
- Jamila Trimuel
- Kristin Larsen
- Josh Ellis
- Robert Megquier
- Karen Lawson
Phase one design for The 78, including infrastructure improvements, is expected to begin in 2021. Phase one construction of the Wells-Wentworth connection is complete and phase two is nearing completion, as of December 2019. The third and final phase is expected to be complete by end of 2021.