New in Loop: casino, water park, softball field!

Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced plans to turn the highly coveted parcel across from Marshall Field’s flagship store on State Street, the so-called “Block 37,” into a one-stop entertainment facility, the most ambitious in city history. Even the people who run Navy Pier were impressed.

The 96-story highrise, dubbed the Butcher’s Clever (apparently in reference to Carl Sandburg’s famous poem “Chicago,” and to the building’s shape–fat like a hog butcher’s clever at the base, narrow and handle-like near the clouds) would be home to the world’s only regulation indoor field for 16-inch softball (on the ground floor, complete with windows all-around, for sidewalk viewing); the world’s largest indoor water park (on floors 46 through 72, again with windows all-around); and the world’s second-largest casino (on three floors below ground level — no windows).

The remaining floors would be filled out by retail shops and luxury residences featuring granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, starting at $4.5 million for two-bedroom, two-bath units. No one-bedroom or studio units will be available to the general public.

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