On Tuesday, September 9th, over 100 Young Leaders gathered for an overview of one of Chicago’s largest urban developments, New City. The ULI Foundation hosted the presentation which highlighted the history of the project, as well as details regarding several obstacles the development team overcame to bring New City to its current composition.
John Bucksbaum gave a summary of the New City development while sharing his own personal experiences with the project. John touched on his history in the regional mall business at General Growth Properties and how those experiences shaped his interest in urban projects. For someone that had spent the majority of their career in the suburbs, John expressed that he always had “urban envy” for new and exciting projects that shaped our city’s communities.
After the 2008 real estate downturn, Bucksbaum could see that retailer demand was shifting towards urban locations opposed to traditional regional malls and decided to pursue a project within the city’s confines. John was informally introduced to the owners of the 8-acre site (bounded by Halsted and Clybourn) with little intention of pursuing a development. It was immediately evident that there was a potential role for John, but it was not until several years later that a Bucksbaum-led partnership eventually acquired the land in 2012.
Construction commenced on the $260 million project in November 2013 and upon completion will consist of 360,000 square feet of retail, 30,000 square feet of medical office, and 199 luxury multifamily units. New City will be anchored by a 14-screen ArcLight Cinema, Mariano’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and a variety of other dining and entertainment retailers. The retail and medical office components will open in September 2015 with the multifamily opening in June 2015. There were unique challenges the development team faced such as specific parking requirements and column spacing for retail stores that were not accustomed to mixed-use developments in urban settings. Bucksbaum, who lives just a few blocks from New City, noted the largest stress of all was to create a successful development for the neighborhood. Several audience members laughed as John quipped about the constant questions and concerns he fields from friends and neighbors who also live in the neighborhood.
The private event offered an insightful look not only into the New City development, but also into responsible urban development for the next generation. The group congregated in an adjoining reception space at the Ivy Hotel for drinks and networking at the conclusion of the presentation. See additional event photosAuthored by ULI Young Leader, Clinton Mitchell, HFF