The Chicago Plan Commission has approved the development of Urban Kayaks along the Chicago Riverwalk at 425-475 E Chicago Riverwalk South in The Loop. Located along the riverwalk the site is midway between N Columbus Drive and N Lake Shore Drive, and currently zoned POS-1, or Public Open Space District. The project does not look to create any zoning changes.
The scope of the project looks to create a cohesive new facility for Urban Kayaks. The new facility will include kayak rental and storage space, a cantina with outdoor dining, space for ticketing operations, a theater, a fitness activity area, and public restrooms.
The project aims to expand and connect waterfront and open spaces, creating active engaging public spaces through the redevelopment of the site. A cohesive graphic façade on the kayak storage facility will be used to cover the metal roller doors.
The city recently completed a $12 million landscaping improvement project along this portion of the riverwalk. The improvements included improvements to the landscaping, lighting, railings, and seating. This portion of the riverwalk shows the transition from natural parklike space of the riverwalk on the eastern end to the more urban civic space on the riverwalk near Michigan Avenue. Designed to enhance this portion of riverwalk, the new project will make no changes to the site and landscape work by the city.
Urban Kayaks is investing $1.6 million in the new center and will complete the redevelopment of the easternmost portion of the riverwalk. It will provide public restrooms and encourages physical connections to the Chicago River through recreation.
JLK Architects is in charge of the design. No timeline has been announced for the project, but the permit for the kayak storage portion of the facility has been filed.