(CBS) – So, who built the River East complex?
2 Investigator Brad Edwards discovered some big names behind the project.
It starts with developer Dan McLean.
He is no longer an owner, but CBS 2 wanted to know if he had a comment about why the flammable cladding was added.
CBS called multiple numbers for McLean and left a message with an attorney. These attempts were unsuccessful.
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When McLean pitched the project, it seemed like a pipe dream. A CBS 2 report at the time compared it to the baseball field in “Field of Dreams.”
The site was once just an empty pocket near Navy Pier. But in the mid-1990s McLean envisioned adding 600-plus units of residential, plus retail and a 21-screen movie theater.
“It will be a walking, talking retail `street that you can walk down and walk in and out of shops and buy things, both if you’re a resident and a tourist,” the developer said then.
Original investors included prominent businessmen such as Aon Corp. Chairman Patrick Ryan and Arlington Park Chairman Richard Duchossois.
Increased traffic was a major concern back then. McLean’s problems turned out to be much larger. The project stalled amid construction cost overruns and a sluggish downtown condo market.
His company allegedly defaulted on a $300 million loan, forcing him to eventually give up a big part of his stake in the development.
Attempts to reach River East’s architect and current owners also were unsuccessful.