Developers announced that plans have been scrapped for 700 at the River District, a multi-building development at 700 W Chicago Avenue. Located on the site of the former Chicago Tribune distribution building, the seven-acre parcel is bound by N Halsted Street, W Chicago Avenue, and the Chicago River. Nexstar Media Group and Riverside Investment & Development were the developers behind the vision.
Originally planned to produce 1.2 million square feet of offices and a 310-unit apartment tower at 700 W Chicago Ave, the proposal was revealed in 2017. Designed by Goettsch Partners, the Chicago Plan Commission approved the development in 2018. Developers planned to break ground later that year, yet they were not able to secure a tenant to begin construction.
According to a recent article from the Chicago Tribune, the developers decided to halt plans for constructing new commercial space, after office vacancies have risen to record levels recently. The development partners believed they were once close to a deal to land the headquarters of United Airlines before the airline instead signed a long-term extension for its Willis Tower space in 2019. The project was also part of the Amazon HQ2 proposal, which was ultimately not awarded to Chicago.
Tribune Media originally put all 37 acres up for sale in early 2019, and later that year the broadcast company was acquired by Nexstar in a $4.1 billion deal that included Tribune Media’s real estate holdings in Chicago and other cities. It’s unclear whether Nexstar still wants to sell all of the land, or if it could try to redevelop all or parts of it.
The developers have now begun seeking tenants to lease the 120,000-square-foot former Chicago Tribune distribution center. New tenants would most likely use the space as a last-mile distribution center. Any long-term deal with an industrial tenant would formally end the vision for high-rises on the site.