Lakeshore East Master Plan

This scheme addresses one of the largest remaining undeveloped tracts in downtown Chicago. Hemmed in by busy, multilevel streets, the 28-acre former freight yard was never considered ideal for development, and its fate remained in limbo for decades.

Rather than focusing outward, SOM’s plan places a six-acre park in the center of the development and surrounds it with mixed-use buildings, including high-rises that will house 15,000 residents. This configuration results in walkable urban blocks while also establishing connections between the district’s open spaces and nearby public amenities such as the Chicago Riverwalk and lakefront parks. Moreover, changes in grade enable the creation of a grand staircase and terraces with panoramic views.

In its graceful marriage of nature and city, SOM’s master plan captures the essence of the famed 1909 Plan of Chicago by Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett.