A former industrial corridor along the North Branch of the Chicago River could be turned in to the city’s newest entertainment district.
Last week, local developer Sterling Bay announced a partnership with concert promoter and Ticketmaster parent Live Nation for up to five music venues, including a 20,000-seat soccer stadium, in a mixed-use development that will cover 70 acres.
Sterling Bay already owns much – but not all – of the property for its plan. In July 2017, the Chicago City Council approved a sweeping North Branch zoning ordinance, opening up the industrial area to residential and commercial use.
Last week, Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward, issued what some see as a warning shot to Sterling Bay in an email to constituents, in which he wrote that “no proposal has been formally submitted or reviewed by my office … nothing has been granted approval, not even preliminary approval.” The alderman plans to hold meetings to solicit community feedback.
Hopkins is in favor of a 24-acre park, which is currently not included in Sterling Bay’s plans for the area.
Will the industrial corridor become the next Chicago entertainment district? Rock critic Jim DeRogatis sounds a warning.
Live Nation “has been a devastatingly negative partner for the city. They got Northerly Island in a sweetheart deal and there wasn’t even a bid from local promoter Jam (Productions),” DeRogatis said.
Note: Sterling Bay and Live Nation did not respond to our requests to join this discussion. The city of Chicago did not have a representative available to join us, and Hopkins had a prior committment.