The 78: Related’s massive south branch megadevelopment

An aerial view of a sprawling riverfront campus along an urban river with yellow water taxis and a pedestrian riverwalk. The complex features low-rise buildings near the water and tall, glassy tower directly behind.

An updated rendering of the 62-acre project. | Courtesy Related Midwest

The story so far

The $7 billion development known as The 78 aims to transform 62-acres of long-vacant waterfront land along the south branch of the Chicago River into a massive, mixed-use campus. Chicago currently has 77 designated community areas, and this ambitious project seeks to grow the number by one as it essentially creates an entire neighborhood from scratch.

Developed by Related Midwest and masterplanned by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, The 78 is zoned for 13 million-square-feet of buildings—some rising as high as 950 feet into the air—housing 10,000 residential units and 24,000 workers. The site is also earmarked for a crescent-shaped park, a water taxi stop, and a University-affiliated innovation center known as Discovery Partners Institute.

To turn the empty parcel into a city within a city, The 78 calls for several TIF-supported infrastructure improvements including a realignment of existing Metra tracks, new streets, a 100-foot-wide riverwalk, and a $300 million Red Line station at the corner Clark and 15th streets.

Stay up to date with the megadevelopment’s latest news here.

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