Community Input Sparks Change in Lincoln Yards Plans

The company behind a multi-billion dollar development along the Chicago River has made some serious revisions to their plan, but local groups still have concerns as the project inches forward.

Sterling Bay, the company behind the $5 billion project that will place a new business and cultural development at the location of the former Finkl and Sons Steel Mill, has cut down on the size of some of the tallest buildings in the project, and have added in a large amount of new park space to the proposal.

The tallest buildings would now stand around 50 stories tall instead of 80, and there is now over 20 acres of proposed park space in the development.

“It’s encouraging,” 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins said. “They seem to be moving in the right direction. We may not be there yet, but we are making progress.”

The revisions will be revealed in full at a meeting on Thursday night as the company looks to move forward on the development on more than 70 acres of riverfront property.

Thousands of new housing and retail units and a soccer stadium are part of the proposal, but it’s the new music venues owned and operated by Live Nation that have some local music venues crying foul.

A newly formed coalition of venue owners called the Chicago Independent Venue League is calling on developers to rethink potential exclusive agreements with Live Nation, which could theoretically prevent bands under contract from performing at other venues in Chicago.

“(If) they own their own venues of every size, those bands won’t have to play any independent venues anymore,” Subterranean Owner and CIVL co-chair Robert Gomez said. “It’s an entirely different level of competition.”

In a letter to Alderman Hopkins, which you can find on our website, Live Nation says they will not block artists from playing at other venues in Chicago when the new development goes up.

“We want to be a great neighbor and always want to work with independent venues,” the company said in the letter. “These venues are of vital importance to the city’s music scene.”

Construction likely won’t begin until the summer of 2019 at the earliest.

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