After taking the sufficient time to review the comments submitted by residents both to my office and at the recent Town Hall meeting, I wanted to share my thoughts on the proposal.
First and foremost, I agree with the residents’ assessment that the project as presented at the Town Hall meeting as being too dense and the height of the buildings too tall. This will be a major point of discussion with the Landmark Development team. Significant revisions to building design and project density must be made.
Second, designating Mark Twain Park as the main pedestrian access point to One Central must be moved. While pedestrian and traffic access to the property in general will need to be discussed, I will be asking the developer to move pedestrian access out of Mark Twain Park.
Third, I am interested in the benefits of the proposed transit hub, however, if it includes a CTA Orange Line extension, there will have to be measures put in place to mitigate the sound and physical impacts to affected residents. Existing residents can not be impacted by another train line in the area.
Fourth, security is a major concern for the development. It is important that the character and integrity of the existing neighborhood be maintained. That means that the influx of new residents, office workers, visitors and commuters to the area must be managed in a way that ensures they can get to their desired destination safely and quickly without disturbing the existing community. Additionally, the physical security around the transit station must be increased and designed in a way to limit any potential conflicts with the neighborhood.
Fifth, I will be requesting a more complete construction schedule and discussing ways to minimize the impact of construction on the community. Included in this discussion will be the future of the Metra tracks north of McFetridge Drive to Roosevelt Rd. This section of tracks is not part of the One Central development area, but, its future as possible park land should be part of the development discussion.
One Central is a potential opportunity to develop the underutilized space above the Metra tracks. The community improvements like the transit hub, the increased retail and park space and potential space for a neighborhood high school, if done correctly, could be lasting assets for the South Loop. However, numerous revisions and compromises are needed. I will continue to work with the developer and the community to revise the proposal to address needs of the residents of the 3rd Ward. We are at the beginning of a community process.
For a full recap of the meeting, please click here. To share your thoughts on this proposed project, email Ward03@cityofchicago.org.