By Brad Edwards

(CBS) – So, who built the River East complex?

2 Investigator Brad Edwards discovered some big names behind the project.

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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.

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Attempts to reach River East’s architect and current owners also were unsuccessful.

Brad Edwards