Ground broken on South Loop Riverline community

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Crews broke ground on a major new residential development in Chicago's South Loop Monday. The new development will bring a cluster of new high-rises to a vacant stretch of land along the Chicago River began with the groundbreaking on Monday.

The Riverline community will be located along Wells Street between Harrison Street and Roosevelt Road.

The development will feature more than 3,600 units and a river walk along the entire property.

Riverline will be built in phases over ten years. The city says it will also create thousands of jobs.

The project will build up empty banks along the waterway's southern stretch.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to make the river the next recreational destination.

"We have a second water front for about 100-plus years. It was ignored because it was the industrial highway. Now it's become a new recreational space and living space for the city of Chicago from the north side to the south side," said Emanuel.

The collection of eight new buildings, a mixture of townhomes, condos and rental apartments will contain more than 3,600 homes.

The space presented a challenge to developers. The River City condominiums sit in the middle, so buildings will go on either side.

"It is a difficult site in that there's a lot going on through old historic tunnels and rail road tracks that used the Chicago River south of River City," said Colin Kihnke of CMK Companies, Ltd.

Residents in the area say they've suffered through major construction projects in the neighborhood before, and are not looking forward to any inconveniences in the short term. But the neighbors are looking forward to the end result.

"I think in the long term it will be good for the area. There'll be a new river walk and some parks, but in the short term, I think it's going to be kind of a pain," said Sarah Lewert who lives in the neighborhood.

"Sometimes it was impossible to take a nap or sleep, but then the park is nice and the neighborhood is getting better. So I'm all up to this. I think it will develop the neighborhood," said Polina Popova, who also lives in the neighborhood.

Riverline will contribute more than $8 million to the city's affordable housing fund, in lieu of including affordable housing unit.

The project will include nearly four acres of green space.
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