Ann Thompson
Senior Vice President, Architecture and Design
Related Midwest, Chicago

Jacques Sandberg
Vice President, Affordable Housing
Related Midwest, Chicago

The transformation of the Chicago River from a maligned waterway into the shining soul of the city—and an anchor for urban development—is one of Chicago’s greatest success stories. The city’s focus on the health of the river and activation of downtown river frontage has been a boon to office and residential development. It has created high-demand for development all along the river, with attention now shifting to its South and North branches.

Related Midwest is leading the development of riverfront neighborhoods along these branches that will shape the future of urban living and celebrate innovation, community, design and diversity. Construction is underway on The 78, the largest private development in Chicago’s history, transforming 62 acres (62 hectares) of vacant land into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood, where employees, residents and visitors will enjoy public green and open space—including a riverfront park and a half-mile extension of the Chicago Riverwalk, with cafes, walking paths, bike lanes, entertainment and public art.

On the city’s northwest side, Related, the Chicago Housing Authority and its community partners have completed Phase One of a revitalization of Julia C. Lathrop Homes. Lathrop, stretching 34 acres (13.8 hectares) along the Chicago River, is poised to be the model for mixed-income communities. With public green space restored by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Lathrop embraces its prime riverfront location and features a landscaped, half-mile pedestrian riverwalk with pathways, bridges, a boat launch, and an adjacent dog park and community playlot. The river is both the inspiration and anchor for the development and restoration of these iconic sites.