Bronzeville Lakefront Development Strategy & Implementation

SB Friedman provided ongoing development advisory services to the City of Chicago as it pursued a $3.8 billion redevelopment of a major catalytic site in the Bronzeville neighborhood. 

The City acquired the former Michael Reese Hospital site as part of its bid to host the 2016 Olympics. When Chicago’s Olympic bid failed, the City was left with the underutilized site and debt related to the acquisition. Our work on the site began as part of a master planning effort led by SOM to identify viable anchor development concepts and debt refinancing strategies, necessary infrastructure investments, potential real estate programs, and implementation steps associated with each concept, with a focus on maximizing the economic, fiscal and neighborhood benefits of the site.

The master plan for redevelopment of the site was released by the Office of the Mayor in fall 2013. After approval of the plan, we assisted the City with implementation:

  • Analyzed various anchor development scenarios;
  • Assisted with the solicitation and selection of a master developer;
  • Advised the City on appropriate land pricing and the terms and conditions of a phased land takedown, including various performance protections; and
  • Provided analytical and structuring support through negotiations regarding land ownership, transfer and public assistance scenarios.

Results: A Redevelopment Agreement with GRIT Chicago, LLC was approved by the Chicago City Council in July 2021. The project officially broke ground in spring 2023, with a new road network being built to support a 500,000-square-foot life sciences center, mixed-income residences, office space, roadways, parks and other public amenities.

Image Source: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill