CHICAGO (CBS) — The South Loop is about to get more crowded. A major redevelopment project encompassing two city blocks gets started Monday.
The Riverline project is a massive undertaking. When it’s done, new condos will stretch from Roosevelt Road to Harrison Street between the Chicago River and Wells Street.
The 7-acre site is empty, except for the River City Condominiums, which will be integrated into the plan for several new high-rise buildings.
Designs for Riverline include 10 residential buildings, a mix of condominiums, apartments, and townhomes.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped break ground Monday afternoon.
South Loop residents have mixed feelings about the development.
“I think it’ll be great for the area. Unfortunately, I think time of construction is going to be kind of a bummer, and there’s ton of new traffic coming into the area, so I think they’re going to have to do something about that, too,” South Loop resident Sarah Lewert said.
Lewert and other neighbors expressed concerns about the impact of construction on an already busy neighborhood.
“It’s just constant gridlock here,” Lewert said. “They’ve closed off a lot of the street parking, and I think they’re going to close off even more in the future.”
Anne Farrell said walking her dog has been a challenge, with some sidewalks blocked off by construction barricades.
“The level of disruption is enormously high,” she said. “I don’t know if this neighborhood is now going to be too tight and congested. I picked Printer’s Row because it seemed quiet.”
River City resident Bob Olsen, however, said it’s time for some life to be injected into the area, given all the empty land surrounding River City.
Olsen and Donald Moore own a place in River City, and Moore said he’s excited for the Riverside development.
“There’s going to be a whole lot of new residents, great architecture. The neighborhood will become much more vibrant than it was before,” he said.
Moore said River City is somewhat isolated from the rest of the South Loop.
“There’s not a lot of restaurants or businesses yet, but that will come with the new building, we hope,”
Olsen said he’s most looking forward to the new Riverwalk.
The mayor’s office said the project will create more than 3,600 new residential units, 3.5 acres of green space, and a new stretch of Riverwalk along the entire property.
The project also will create thousands of jobs. It includes several phases, and construction will take 8 to 10 years.