On Jan. 25, 2021 Alderpersons Dowell and King hosted a “community meeting” benefiting Landmark Development and its paid advisers. Landmark’s Bob Dunn was left almost uninterrupted to hype a slightly revised One Central mega-development. One Central will sit atop a now higher, 7-story concrete platform above the existing Metra line in the South Loop, creating a wall stretching a continuous quarter mile from 14th Street to McCormick Place.
The revised plan is little different from the original in terms of scale, density, and lack of demonstrated need. The original 10 towers were changed into 9 taller towers, and much of the midrise building mass (on top of the 7-story wall) has shifted west, closer to the neighborhood. This massing creates an 11-16 story continuous wall for 10 city blocks.
All “community input” at the meeting appeared hand-picked, filtered, and summarized for the benefit of Landmark. Not a single hard question was posed, and notably not one came from our representatives. Dunn was allowed free reign to provide unsupported, self-serving and exhaustingly long responses. Many false assertions remain. Here are but a few:
ASSERTION: The One Central Transit Center’s connected shopping mall will be so successful that it will generate sales tax revenues to easily repay the $6.5 Billion in our tax dollars that Illinois proposes giving to Landmark Development to build it.
REALITY: A transit center-shopping mall is a failed strategy which is abundantly demonstrated by Chicago’s Block 37. Like One Central, Block 37 was built on lofty conjecture that an integrated transit center (CTA Red and Blue lines, and all others one block away), with housing, offices, a shopping mall, dining, and entertainment would be successful. Ten years, and one foreclosure later, Block 37 has only 24 tenants, and still has 22 vacancies. And Block 37 had an advantage over One Central: it’s in the Loop on the State Street retail corridor. Plus today, office demand is rapidly evaporating.
ASSERTION: The completed One Central will raise property values for existing homeowners by 15-20% (the number changes virtually every time Dunn expresses it).
REALITY: 20 years of construction dirt, dust, noise, and seismic pounding will kill our property values, as will the massively tall concrete wall Landmark proposes for the “civic build”. A wall that stretches the entire length of our neighborhood will cut us off from light, air, and our beloved lakefront. We didn’t spend our billions of dollars building the South Loop only to live in misery for 20 years.
ASSERTION: One Central will help create a vibrant South Loop.
REALITY: One Central will destroy our small businesses, retailers, and neighborhood feel; just like the Atlantic City casino boardwalk decimated the downtown area surrounding it.
ASSERTION: There will be time to change One Central after a “formal” application is made.
REALITY: Landmark is spending millions lobbying and completing plans, working out details with DPD, CDOT and the Alderpersons. Once it is “formally” filed, it will be fully baked and a virtually “done deal”. And It will all have happened behind closed doors without our direct participation. It’s already happening.
JOIN US! DONATE NOW! To learn how to help, go to: www.southloopconcernedcoalition.org.
ONE Central Community Webinar
The SLCC needs funds to hire experts to increase transparency and educate public officials and the public about this mega development. Please donate whatever feels right to you and ask others to do the same. Thank you!