CHICAGO (CBS) — The start of construction on a new office building along the west bank of the Chicago River could change the riverfront landscape in more ways than one.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports plans for the $500 million office tower at 150 N. Riverside Plaza include more than just a 53-story skyscraper.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said the development also includes a 1.5-acre park that will cover railroad tracks that now run through the site. That’s not the only new parkland.

“Just to the site to the north of Lake Street, there will be a 1.5-acre public park delivered over those railroad tracks,” he said. “Then just across the river, at Wolf Point, yet another acre-and-a-half; so just in a few years, we’ll be delivering close to 5 acres of new open space for everyone to enjoy, in lieu of these ugly railroad tracks – no offense to my friends at Amtrak.”

Reilly said the original plan for the building called for a concrete plaza, not a park.

Developer John O’Donnell said the building will have a distinctive design, as well.

“I think the coolness factor of this design really motivated hundreds of people to be involved,” he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the project would create 1,500 construction jobs, and 150 permanent ones once it opens in 2016.

Management firm William Blair & Co. will be the anchor tenant.

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