November 14, 2017

Mayor Emanuel Announces Chicago Riverwalk Wins Urban Land Institute's 2017-2018 Global Awards for Excellence

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the Chicago Riverwalk was selected as one of thirteen global winners of the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) 2017-2018 Global Awards for Excellence. The award honors the Riverwalk for its merits and economic development impact in the City of Chicago. This is the 19th major award for the Riverwalk.

“The City of Chicago has always embraced our lakeshore like no other city and the Chicago Riverwalk has helped us embrace the Chicago River as the city’s newest recreational frontier,” Mayor Emanuel said. “We are honored to be recognized for this effort on a global level and will continue to build on our success in generating economic growth for the city and creating new recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.”

The ULI Global Awards for Excellence recognize real estate projects that achieve the highest standard of excellence in the design, construction, economics, planning and management. The Global Awards for Excellence are considered one of the land use industry’s most prestigious awards programs.

“The ULI Global Awards of Excellence are a testament to the effort of so many individuals who work hard to maintain the Riverwalk and change the way people interact with the Chicago River,” Department of Fleet and Facility Management (2FM) Commissioner David Reynolds said. “2FM is proud to be part of this effort to build on Daniel Burnham’s vision for the city.”

“The Main Branch Riverwalk truly redefines how smart planning and design can foster social interaction and recreation, improve how we relate to the city’s natural resources, and encourage excellence in private development along the water,” Department of Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman said.

The six-block section of the Riverwalk was designed by a team of architects including Sasaki and Ross Barney Architects and is managed by the Department of Fleet and Facility Management. Construction of the newest sections was completed in October of 2016 and led by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), with construction management provided by Alfred Benesch & Co. Engineers and Walsh Construction as the general contractor.

“CDOT is honored to have led the outstanding team that helped realize the vision for Chicago’s downtown river front first imagined by Daniel Burnham,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “The Riverwalk is part of Mayor Emanuel’s larger city-wide initiative to ‘Build on Burnham’ and develop dynamic green spaces along Chicago’s waterfront throughout the city, helping to create more vibrant neighborhoods and keep Chicago competitive as a beautiful, world class destination.”

Winners of the Global Awards for Excellence were selected by an international jury made up of ULI members representing a multidisciplinary collection of real estate development expertise including finance, land planning, development, public affairs, design and other professional services. Submissions are evaluated on various criteria including leadership, contribution to the community, innovations, public/private partnerships, environmental protection and enhancement, response to social needs and financial viability.

This year’s winners include the Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao, Spain; Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston, Texas; Downtown Allentown Revitalization District in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Emeryville Center of Community Life in Emeryville, California; Half Moon Village in Half Moon Bay, California; Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City in Kashiwa City, Japan; Marine Gateway in Vancouver, Canada; Milwaukee RiverWalk in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, Singapore; Pearl in San Antonio, Texas; University Center- The New School in New York, New York and West Don Lands in Toronto, Canada.

For more information on the Chicago Riverwalk, please visit