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This could be the year of the megadevelopment for Chicago, altering the skyline forever

Ryan Ori, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

CHICAGO -- Almost a decade into a real estate development boom, commercial property owners face some obstacles that could derail this year's momentum.

Nationally, there are signs of economic uncertainty, including a wobbly stock market.

Locally there also is political uncertainty, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on the way out.

Yet Chicago appears on the verge of having multiple megadevelopments under construction. Those multibillion-dollar projects once again have the potential to alter Chicago's skyline, particularly along the Chicago River.

In part because of Chicago's ultimately unsuccessful effort to woo Amazon's second headquarters, some of the most ambitious developments gained city approval or took significant steps in their planning during 2018.

How the economy holds up, and how many big office tenants commit to new buildings, will determine the viability of many projects in the coming year.

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Here are a few important Chicago properties to watch in 2019:

-- Lincoln Yards

Only days into the new year, developer Sterling Bay's plans for Lincoln Yards are headed toward sweeping changes that will drastically alter the look and feel of one of the boldest mixed-use projects ever drawn up on the city's North Side.

After years of buying formerly industrial land on the river along Lincoln Park and Bucktown, Sterling Bay has been seeking city zoning approval to build more than 12 million square feet of office and residential high-rises, retail, a 20,000-seat soccer stadium and other entertainment venues.


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