New renderings of South Loop development that's part of Amazon HQ2 bid

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The developer behind a major new South Loop development that was one of the sites included in the bid for Amazon's second headquarters, has unveiled new renderings for the project. (WLS)

The developer behind a major new South Loop development that was one of the sites included in the bid for Amazon's second headquarters has unveiled new renderings for the project.

The plan for the largest development of its kind in Chicago history would connect the Loop and Chinatown along the city's riverfront.

The timing of the release raised a few eyebrows, especially since the PR firm working with the developer is headed up by a woman who used to work for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

But the mayor's office is downplaying any Amazon connection to the release of those renderings.

The 78, as it is being called, would be a massive development that could one day grace a 62-acre site in the South Loop.

The 78 would be built in the vacant space between Roosevelt Road to the north, and 16th Street to the south, between Clark Street and the Chicago River. That area would also include a billion dollar research and innovation hub that the mayor and governor announced last fall.

The 78, so named because it could become the city's 78th Ward, would include residences, retail and restaurants and a hotel. Along the river there would be cafes bikeways, promenades and cultural amenities as well, according to the developer, Related Midwest.

"They're going to be adding a lot of retail, a lot of coffee shops, patio space, areas to put in for shops and that is something that the South Loop is very starved for," said Brian Murphy, Vice President of Greater South Loop Alliance.

This site is also one that Amazon visited earlier this year. The timing of the release of the renderings was coincidental according to the mayor's office. It was not done to wave a shiny object at Amazon and remind them of Chicago as the company prepares for the expected next round of cuts in the HQ2 search process.

The mayor's office says what it does show Amazon is the strength of Chicago's bid with sites that are ready to be developed now.

"They take note of all this and here's what I think, on every issue that they put in their manual, aviation, transportation, talent pool, universities, quality of life, affordability. Chicago, when you look all the other twenty cities, usually scores number one or number two on that number," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Amazon has been very vague about what the next step in the process will be, there have been reports the company may select three to five finalists before choosing a winner.

The mayor said Friday that we should know something soon.
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realestatethe 78developmentamazonchicago riverSouth LoopChicago
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