The massive redevelopment of the brownfield that was once U.S. Steel’s South Works is officially dead. Crain’s Chicago Business pronounced it so last week when it reported that U.S. Steel has hired Cushman & Wakefield to sell the property — in whole, or in pieces — to a developer.
The previous developer, McCaffery Interests, couldn’t make Chicago Lakeside happen. It was an ambitious plan — The largest master-planned development in Chicago since Lakeshore East, but much much bigger.
The plan by SOM called for the establishment of an entire new city within the city, complete with its own skyline, canals, and expressway.
The expressway we got. In the form of the two-mile-long South Lake Shore Drive Extension, a $64 million highway from 79th Street to 92nd Street. We also got Steeelworkers Park, a 16-acre oasis in the middle of this oasis. Your tax dollars at work.
What didn’t get built on the 600 acre site was the 15,000 new homes, 20 million square feet of retail space, and all 130 acres of parkland we were promised.
That will be up to the next developer to put together. Whether Cushman can find someone with pockets deep enough to buy the whole thing, now known as 8080 Lakeshore, or just deep enough to get one chunk done remains to be seen. But it is a chance for some builder with big dreams to work with a blank slate in the middle of the windy city. And chances like that don’t come around very often.