Rendering shows aerial view from of the west of the reimagined Union Station development in Chicago. Courtesy Amtrak

Rendering shows aerial view from of the west of the reimagined Union Station development in Chicago. Courtesy Amtrak

Amtrak has designated a team lead by Riverside Investment & Development Co. as the Master Developer for commercial elements of Chicago Union Station (CUS) and neighboring Amtrak-owned properties.

The initial conceptual design proposed by Riverside, in conjunction with co-developer and co-venture partner Convexity Properties – a DRW Co., includes three phases projected to be completed in about six years. Key project priorities include improved street entrances and pedestrian traffic flow entering and leaving Union Station, as well as improved pedestrian-friendly landscaping and open spaces.

The proposed commercial development will total approximately 3.1 million square feet at full build-out. The developer expects to create approximately 7,500 construction jobs over the life of the more than $1 billion project, as well as an additional 7,000 to 8,000 permanent jobs:

Phase One – Union Station Headhouse and Concourse Improvements

  •     110,000 square feet of new and reconfigured retail with a new food hall
  •     Street level retail to be added to enhance the pedestrian experience
  •     Renovation of the Headhouse and Great Hall
  •     100,000 square feet of office space and a new proposed hotel above the Great Hall
  •     Two new 12-story residential towers above the Headhouse


Phase Two – New Office Towers with Retail and Parking (currently parking garage)

  •     Two new 750,000 square foot office towers with ground floor retail and approximately 800 parking spaces
  •     Ample publicly-accessible green spaces including terraces and plazas, including above the current Union Station Transit Center


Phase Three – Plaza and Tower on Southeast Corner of Jackson and Canal

  •     Approximately 500,000-square-foot retail and residential tower developed over active rail lines with open space and plazas at street level

“This building was envisioned by Daniel Burnham in the 1909 Plan for Chicago as the city’s primary rail station. It is in that spirit, we have big plans for both this Headhouse building and nearby properties owned by Amtrak,” said Moorman. “We have initiated real estate developments such as this to create revenue streams to invest in our core business, to improve facilities, to provide amenities to all users of the station – and to attract new ones. We are certain we will do that here in Chicago.”

The Amtrak Board of Directors this week approved the designation of a master development team led by Riverside. This designation is based on a staff recommendation and follows a rigorous technical and financial review, assisted by KPMG, AECOM and Savills Studley.

The Board also approved finalizing financial negotiations with this developer by the end of the year.

In addition to a competitive review process, Riverside and its partners were selected due to their extensive experience in successfully developing complex, transportation-oriented, mixed-use properties. The team includes: Riverside Investment & Development; Convexity Properties; Architect Goettsch Partners; Structural Engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates; Rail Operations Interface Manager & Civil Engineer WSP; Construction Manager Clark Construction Group; Operations, Maintenance and Retail Concession Manager CBRE Inc.; and Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Technology Engineer ESD Global. This team was chosen from a pre-qualified field of four following a Request for Qualification.

The designated developer will harmonize commercial development with the need to address growing passenger volumes at CUS, and to successfully integrate the station into the surrounding West Loop neighborhood. The Master Developer will also engage the community and incorporate feedback from West Loop stakeholders into any development plan.

The Master Development process in Chicago is part of a larger corporate program to leverage the substantial Amtrak asset portfolio and also includes stations in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

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