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one of the most significant and historic properties in Chicago. Located on the Chicago River immediately south of 350 WMart Center, previously known as the ‘Apparel Center’, it is currently used as a parking lot and stands as the river’s last open space in downtown Chicago.

Last May, Hines Development unveiled a $1 billion plan for squeezing three massive skyscrapers into Wolf Point’s small, four acre triangle-shaped lot.  At 50-80 stories each, these three towers will contain 3.75 million square feet of interior space – about the size of the Willis Tower. 

At first glance, the Hines plan for this property appears appealing.  However, a closer inspection reveals many hidden dangers for the surrounding communities and the city of Chicago should this project move forward as planned.Here are the most disturbing aspects of the Hines plan for Wolf Point:

• It will worsen one of Chicago’s densest neighborhoods,

already bursting at the seams.  The Fulton River District and River North neighborhoods, which surround Wolf Point, have grown exponentially over the last 5 years.  Over 2,200 new residential units and 5,000 new residents have been added during this period.  New high-rise projects (360 W. Hubbard – 495 rental units, K2 – 495 rental units and River Point – 4,000 employees) and the relocation of 3,000 additional employees by Google/Motorola Mobility to the Merchandise Mart add to the neighborhood’s density.  Unfortunately, the existing 

infrastructure in the area has not been upgraded by the City in decades and will be further weakened by the additional population density that the Wolf Point towers will create.     

• This plan will increase traffic dangers and safety risks in one of the city’s most congested areas.  This is especially concerning. A study done by Kenig, Lindgren, O'Hara, Aboona, (KLOA) a premier traffic and transportation planning and engineering firm, the Wolf Point traffic consultant has grossly underestimated the impact of the plan on increasing traffic in the area – a fact that is well understood by Alderman Brendon Reilly (42nd). Massive tie-ups on adjoining streets, such as Kinzie, are already a dangerous problem, clog traffic and endanger lives during the rush hour.  Vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian risks will simply multiply and worsen to unacceptable levels as more people navigate the newWolf Point development.

• This plan will erode the beauty of Chicago’s Riverfront.

Wolf Point sits west on the Chicago River, where the river divides into branches.  This unique location in Chicago is now public, open and sunny, with a natural riverbank.  However, it will be become cramped, congested and plunged into a perpetual shadow given the current development plan at Wolf Point.  The vision and efforts of Daniel Burnham to retain the natural beauty of our lake front should be a model for the Chicago River and its surrounding communities.

Unfortunately, under this plan it won’t be.  

• This plan ignores Wolf Point’s important role in Chicago’s history. In the history of Chicago, few sites are more historically significant than Wolf Point.  It was the location of the city’s first three taverns, our first hotel, our first ferry, our first drug store and our first bridges across the Chicago River. The first settlers and businesses in Chicago were established on Wolf Point 160 years ago.  This plan does nothing to memorialize where our great city first started.  Something in that spirit is needed at Wolf Point — something integral to the buildings or the landscape, not a plaque that’s a mere afterthought.  

• The plan allows for little open space. As a riverfront property, Wolf Point is subject to the city’s River Walk requirement.  It currently sits as a “crown jewel” in the River Walk system.  There should be a park at Wolf Point, which would complement the planned structure and park built across the river at River Point.  As the City’s 2009 Action Plan states, the open space on Wolf Point should soften the hard edges of the development along the river.

CHICAGO

Becoming Another NewYorkCity?

With expansion and growth comes the risk of changing the look and feel of Chicago as the jewel city of the midwest in the United States. Chicago is an endangered city that could lose its’ big city home town charm, historical landmarks and beautiful cityscape.

Vigore Chicago

Wolf Point Development with Winter Garden based on proposal by Mister Uptempo on SkyScraperPage.com

Wolf Point Development as proposal by Wolf Point Owners, LLC

Wolf Point

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