CHICAGO—The downtown is on the verge of getting another new neighborhood, this time in the near South Loop. Officials from Lendlease, an international property and infrastructure group, say their Southbank community will span a 7-acre parcel that will offer as many as 2,700 units across five high rises surrounding a two-acre park. And like most modern developments of this scale, the new community will offer more than a place to live. Both residents and visitors will have places to shop and even recreate along the South Branch of the Chicago River. “You want to have a confluence of great retail that is also an amenity to the community,” Justin Patwin, project director, Lendlease, tells GlobeSt.com. Furthermore, “it’s been the city’s vision to have a fully-connected Riverwalk,” and the company will create from Harrison St. to Polk St. a privately-financed extension of the recently-completed attraction, which curves along the Chicago River through the heart of downtown. “We see a lot of large companies migrating back to the city center,” Patwin says, and although developers have recently finished thousands of new units in and around the CBD, the downtown’s economic engine keeps chugging along, making it likely even more office users will move in and further boost multifamily demand. 601W Cos. for example, will by 2019 finish its renovation of the 2.5 million square foot Old Main Post Office, and most observers expect it to soon land an anchor tenant. Lendlease will “be well-positioned to take advantage of that.” “There are three or four major developers that are investing heavily in the riverfront,” he adds. To the south of Lendlease’s Southbank, for example, Related Midwest has begun developing The 78, a mixed-use, master-planned development that could still become the location of Amazon’s HQ2. Related also plans to build a Riverwalk extension, and Patwin envisions a day when pedestrians can stroll along the river from the start at Lake Shore Dr. down to Chinatown. “We know it’s going to be a hub of activity.” Southbank itself will generate much of that activity. A new water taxi at the property’s south end will quickly ferry residents and visitors to the restaurants of Chinatown or to jobs and attractions throughout much of The Loop. And Southbank’s market will feature local retailers such as coffee roasters, local restaurants and temporary pop-up retail for residents and guests. The new community will also reflect the artistic past of nearby Printer’s Row. “To help us tell the story of Southbank,” Patwin says, Lendlease plans to integrate the work of local artists into the development. The inclusion of a small amphitheater means the company can host neighborhood events and reach out to musicians as well as visual artists. Lendlease will complete the first high-rise this fall and begin leasing its 452 units in the summer, Patwin says. Located near Wells and Polk Sts., it will offer a diverse array of units, from studios to three-bedrooms, as well as townhomes for rent, and penthouse suites. Lendlease does not have a set plan for the second tower, partly because the future direction of the city’s residential market is a bit unclear. As reported in GlobeSt.com, after a long freeze the market for condos has begun to thaw, but so far, developers have played it safe and kept the few new condo projects on the small side. Lendlease may include condos in Southbank’s next phase, but only after taking enough time to properly gauge how many potential buyers exist. The company does, however, want to start the second tower in 2019. “Within the next few months we will likely have a decision,” Patwin says. Southbank’s new Riverwalk and two-acre park will be amenities for the whole community.

CHICAGO—The downtown is on the verge of getting another new neighborhood, this time in the near South Loop. Officials from Lendlease, an international property and infrastructure group, say their Southbank community will span a 7-acre parcel and offer as many as 2,700 units across five high rises surrounding a two-acre park.