Crusader Staff Report
Related Midwest on Tuesday, May 15 announced that it will donate $10 million to the Chicago Park District to develop DuSable Park in Streeterville. The amount is higher than the $4.1 million that was promised by a previous developer as part of an agreement with the city to help develop DuSable Park.
The announcement came at a meeting Related Midwest held at the Grand Sheraton Hotel in Streeterville, where executives unveiled plans for two glistening skyscrapers that will be built where the failed 2,000-ft. Chicago Spire skyscraper was going to be before its developer lost the property to foreclosure. The site is located directly across from DuSable Park with Lake Shore Drive separating the two properties.
The $10 million donation and grand plans is a big boost to DuSable Park, which will benefit from the new development. Located at 401 N. Lake Shore Dr., the property was named after Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, a Haitian fur trader who today is recognized as the “Founder of Chicago.”
Former Mayor Harold Washington named the 3.3-acre site 30 years ago. The site is yards away from a bust of DuSable that sits on Tribune Plaza, which is believed to be the original site where DuSable established his prosperous settlement and farm in 1790.
Three decades after it was named DuSable Park it is undeveloped and closed to the public.
There have been dozens of failed proposals and unfulfilled promises. In 2000, the soil at DuSable Park was found to be contaminated and radioactive. The site’s previous owner, Lindsay Light and Chemical Co., was suspected of dumping thorium on the property. As part of a $6.8 million legal settlement, in 2014 successors to Lindsay Light agreed to pay the cleanup and remediation costs, which were allocated by the Environmental Protection Agency to the Chicago Park District.
In addition to the $10 million donation, Related Midwest pledged to complete a pedestrian walkway called DuSable Founders Way, which will stretch from Michigan Avenue to Lake Michigan. This public extension of the Chicago Riverwalk will pass along the 400 Lake Shore Drive site, under Lake Shore Drive and out to DuSable Park.
The new skyscrapers Related Midwest plans to build across DuSable Park will dramatically alter the Chicago skyline. The South Tower will be 1,100 feet tall and will have a 175-room hotel and 300 luxury condominiums. The North Tower will be 850 feet and will have 550 luxury apartments.
Both towers will feature glass and terra cotta façades, with metalwork detailing. The podium connecting the two towers will have an organic character along with stone and masonry to substantially dampen noise from Lake Shore Drive.