The drawing board: Best-laid plans for Washington Park

The Gateway at Washington Park renderings from FitzGerald Associates Architects, Chicago

The Gateway at Washington Park renderings from FitzGerald Associates Architects, Chicago The Gateway at Washington Park renderings from FitzGerald Associates Architects, Chicago

The Gateway at Washington Park never had a chance. The real estate insiders we talked to last winter took one look at New South Partners’ mixed-use plan and dismissed it outright. After all, the climate for new construction was terrible, the city had lost its Olympics bid, and the developers hadn’t acquired all the land necessary to make the project work. Not surprisingly, there weren’t a whole lot of readers clamoring for updates on this thing through all of 2010.

Last week, after finding mock-ups of One South Halsted on FitzGerald Associates‘ website, I happened upon the firm’s designs for The Gateway. FitzGerald’s master plan calls for 80 residences and 1.2 million square feet of retail space on 12 acres bounded by 54th Street, 55th Place, Martin Luther King Jr Drive and Prairie Avenue. FitzGerald has created the master plan for this site on Garfield Boulevard at Washington Park.

“This mixed-use, transit-oriented development capitalizes on the unique proximity of multiple mass transit lines that converge at the entry to Chicago’s celebrated boulevard system,” the page says. “Our design envisions a public plaza as the hub of a multi-faceted development anchored by significant retailers. It celebrates the importance of Garfield Boulevard as an entry into Hyde Park and the University of Chicago with two prominent ‘gateway’ towers incorporating the most current green technology to create a dynamic and sustainable vision for this strategically located neighborhood.”

A Target department store is featured prominently in all three images, as are mid-rises made of glass, concrete, and brick, and lower-profile, courtyard-style buildings.

Will we ever see it? Not anytime soon, I’m guessing. But it’s still an interesting what-if.

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