Chicago Real Estate Development

New Pocket Neighborhood Planned for the South Loop

The South Loop is one of Chicago’s central neighborhoods, made dense by high-rise residential buildings and office towers. The area’s downtown location along the Chicago River and next to the lake makes it an obvious target for new development, a trend that developers have been clearly pursuing.

Now, a developer has put plans in motion for a new residential neighborhood anchored by luxury development: Southbank.

Meet Southbank

Developer Lendlease has officially opened The Cooper at Southbank, one of five luxury residential buildings slated to be a part of its new Southbank neighborhood, according to Forbes. The Cooper, located at 720 S. Wells St., has 29 stories and 452 residential units, according to the report. Southbank’s five high-rises are zoned to have up to 2,700 units.

The developer is also adding a number of amenities to the neighborhood, including a new water taxi stop that will allow Southbank residents easy access to the Loop and Chinatown, and a riverwalk that will run from Harrison Street to Polk Street, according to the Lendlease website. Lendlease is also planning the Southbank Market, a retail pop-up, which will feature coffee shops and restaurants.

Lendlease is aiming to make Southbank, designed by architecture firm Perkins + Will, a sustainable development, emphasizing energy efficiency and environmentally friendly details, according to the developer’s website.

A New Park

The new neighborhood will feature a central open space for residents and visitors: Southbank Park. The two-acre, public park will be located along the Chicago River with amenities like a kayak launch, according to the Forbes article. The park will also be the site of the neighborhood’s new water taxi stop located along the Southbank stretch of riverwalk. 

Printers Row As Inspiration

While Southbank might be a new neighborhood, Lendlease decided to take some cues from a nearby existing Chicago neighborhood. The developer is “paying particular attention to the artistic past of nearby Printers Row,” according to the company’s website.

Printer’s Row is named for its past as a hub for the printing industry. While it’s largely residential today, the neighborhood still pays homage to its roots with the annual Printers Row Lit Fest.

Lendlease is aiming to include branding and art collaborations similar to those used in Printers Row, according to the Forbes article. Thus far, the developer has featured original artwork from photographer Nick Albertson at The Cooper. Lendlease has also worked with artist David Wolske to create a “visual expression” for the Southbank neighborhood. 

The New Neighborhood Trend

Southbank is not the only new neighborhood making a name for itself in Chicago. Lendlease and Magellan Development Group are creating a new master-planned community just north of the Loop and across the river from Streeterville

This new development, Lakeshore East, includes plans for nearly 5,000 homes, 2.2 million square feet of commercial space, more than 1,000 hotel rooms, and 770,000 square feet of retail space. Like Southbank, this project will also come with a new park. In this case, a six-acre botanical park. Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill created the master plan for the new community.

The South Loop may be one if the city’s denser neighborhoods, but it does have 62 acres of vacant land. This site, bordered by the Chicago River, 16th Street, Ping Tom Memorial Park, Roosevelt Road, Metra tracks, and Clark Street, is the future home of new neighborhood The 78. Related Midwest is planning to spend $5 billion on mixed-use development to bring this new Chicago neighborhood to life. 

The 78 is being designed as a “completely walkable neighborhood” served by access points like water taxi stops and a new CTA Red Line station. Like Southbank, The 78 aims to capitalize on its riverfront location with 5 acres of public space on the river, according to the developer’s website. Plus, The 78 will feature a seven-acre public park for residents and visitors. Once completed, the neighborhood will serve as a connecting point between the Loop, South Loop, Chinatown, Bronzeville, and Pilsen.

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