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  #81  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2004, 12:26 AM
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^steakhouse & italian, 3 star... interesting move, these are restuarants I'd rather visit in their original neighborhoods.
     
     
  #82  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2004, 6:32 PM
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Originally Posted by HK Chicago
^steakhouse & italian, 3 star... interesting move, these are restuarants I'd rather visit in their original neighborhoods.
Plus, there's a Rosebud restaurant at the bottom of Three First already, like a block away.
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  #83  
Old Posted Sep 27, 2004, 3:11 PM
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I think it would be an enormous mistake to have the focus of the block 37 entertainment complex be daly plaza. I know the whole "outdoor room" thing but let's be honest here. Daley plaza is the patio of a gigantic traffic court. Nothing against one of my favorite bldgs., but Daley plaza hardly screams "night life." The entertainment frontage MUST be on Randolph or the developers will have made a colossal error.
     
     
  #84  
Old Posted Sep 27, 2004, 5:54 PM
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^ actually, the focus of entertainment is on Randolph and State, not on Daley plaza. The frontage of Daley plaza will be office space and a possible CBS studio
     
     
  #85  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2004, 10:35 PM
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I think the frontage along State Street should be taller, something more in line with the height of the Marshall Field building...
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  #86  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2004, 5:40 AM
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^ I disagree. I want to still be able to appreciate the size of Marshall fields from the western side. It is impressive. Something as tall as it would block that perspective.
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  #87  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2004, 1:57 PM
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Block 37 among signs of State Street revival
Data show uptick from dismal 2003

By Thomas A. Corfman
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 12, 2004

The Daley administration and Mills Corp. have reached an agreement on a sale of Block 37 to the Arlington, Va.-based real estate company, a sign that State Street is poised for a rebound after a lackluster year.

The deal sets the stage for construction to begin early next year on a mixed-use project that would include 400,000 square feet of retail space to be completed by fall 2007.

Meanwhile, the college bookstore sister company of Barnes & Noble Inc. is in talks with DePaul University to open one of its superstores in the DePaul Center, 333 S. State St., a former Goldblatt's Department Store, a university spokeswoman confirms.

Often considered a potential tenant for Block 37, Barnes & Noble would instead give a badly needed boost to the south end of the city's historic shopping district. A 43,000-square-foot prototype of the new store concept, which debuted last fall near Georgia Tech in Atlanta, is geared to off-campus customers by providing a wide selection of books and music, in addition to college texts.

The Block 37 agreement and the Barnes & Noble talks are key signs that State Street is recovering from a dismal 2003, when the vacancy rate reached the highest level since the 1980s, an era known for department store defections and a stifling pedestrian mall.

The vacancy rate among smaller specialty stores has declined to 21 percent from nearly 25 percent a year ago, according to an annual study by Northern Realty Group Ltd., a retail real estate and development firm.

The retail real estate market along State Street has a long way to go to reach a vacancy rate of 4.5 percent, the level just three years ago. Yet the new round of interest among retailers is partly due to an expectation that Block 37 may be moving forward, making nearby space more desirable.

On Tuesday, the city agency that reviews development deals in tax-increment financing districts is scheduled to consider a proposal by the city to sell the site to Mills, according to the agency's agenda.

The price and structure of the deal could not be determined. A Mills spokeswoman declined to comment. A Planning Department spokesman could not be reached for comment.

At the southwest corner of the site would be an office building anchored by the studios and offices of WBBM-Ch. 2, a deal that has been under negotiation for nearly 18 months. The building is scheduled to be completed in June 2007, sources said. The base of the three-tower complex, which includes the retail space, is expected to be completed that fall, sources said.

But State Street also has a momentum separate from that slow-moving project, as retailers look to take advantage of the street's growing collection of fashion stores targeting younger, budget-minded shoppers.

Most recently, Urban Outfitters Inc. signed a letter of intent to lease 12,000 square feet in the former Toys "R" Us store, 10 S. State St., which is being divided into separate stores, real estate industry sources said.

Other trendy merchants also are scouting the street, such as shoe company Steven Madden Ltd. and clothier Ann Taylor Loft, real estate industry sources said, as well as more mundane retailers, such as discounter DSW Shoe Warehouse.

"I think retailers are taking a second look at State Street when they see the phenomenal success of stores such as Forever 21," said Michael Shields, an executive vice president with Northern Realty, which is handling leasing for the former Toys "R" Us store. He declined to comment on potential tenants for that building, where sources say Office Depot Inc. recently signed a letter of intent for about 20,000 square feet.

Forever 21, a women's apparel store, opened in January at 34 S. State St., not far from Hennes & Mauritz LP, known as H&M, which opened a store at 20 N. State St. the following month.

But the drop in the proportion of empty storefronts isn't just the result of a sudden surge in leasing. Demand for space, as measured by net absorption, actually declined by nearly 16,000 square feet during the last year, compared with an increase of 68,007 square feet the year before. Net absorption is the change in the amount of leased and occupied space.

Landlords have cut by 6.5 percent, to about 1 million square feet, the total space for shops that focus on a single category of goods, called specialty stores. Some difficult-to-lease spaces are being converted to other uses, thereby reducing the amount of available space.

The study tracks vacancy rates and asking rents for an area that includes State Street and Wabash Avenue and stretches from Wacker Drive to Congress Parkway.

Only shops larger than 2,500 square feet with street entrances are included. When the fully leased department stores are factored in, the vacancy rate fell to 7.3 percent from 9 percent.

Staples Inc. recently signed the largest deal of the last 12 months. It has leased nearly 20,000 square feet in the Garland Building, said Patrick Caruso, president and chief executive of L.J. Sheridan & Co., which handles leasing for the building at 111 N. Wabash St.

Staples would partially replace a shuttered 47,200-square-foot, multilevel store once occupied by menswear retailer Syms Corp. The Garland Building's owners are now considering converting the upper-floor space to offices, Caruso said.

Meanwhile, the shift toward trendy, moderately priced retailers may be a key to the street's revival.

"For a long time, State Street merchants were holding on to the idea that State Street could be like North Michigan Avenue, and that could never be true," said developer Bill Smith, president of Chicago-based Smithfield Properties LLC.

In January, the firm plans to start marketing units in a 32-story condominium tower at 151 N. State St. that will include about 37,000 square feet of retail space.

"State Street has to find its own niche," he said.
     
     
  #88  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2004, 6:04 PM
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I really wish that old Toys R Us was being torn down. God, what a hideous building.

I also think the city or state should kick in some money to redo the first floor facades of virtually every building on State Street. So many of them had their storefronts redone in the 1950s, replacing the older stone or brick you see above with some hideous concrete and signage.
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  #89  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2004, 10:39 PM
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significant news coming on this.
possible site for city-owned CASINO becoming part of the plan
     
     
  #90  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2004, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jcchii
significant news coming on this.
possible site for city-owned CASINO becoming part of the plan
WOW!

if true, i'm not terribly surprised. a casino would absolutely generate the foot traffic to make B37 a success, but at what social cost?
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  #91  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 1:02 AM
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October 12, 2004
Casino could find home on Block 37

By ALBY GALLUN


City officials are discussing a plan to put a casino in the proposed mixed-used development at Block 37, the long-vacant block in the Loop.

Marking a major shift in the city’s position, Denise M. Casalino, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, said a casino could be included in the $508-million project “if it’s done correctly” and if it lawmakers in Springfield sign off on a Chicago casino

City officials have been discussing the idea with Mills Corp., the project’s master developer, she said. A casino most likely would be included as part of a 200- to 300-room hotel planned for the northwester corner of the site, which sits just across State Street from Marshall Field’s flagship store.
“We agreed to agree that there might be a casino on the site,” Ms. Casalino said. “This is just one of the sites under consideration.”

Ms. Casalino spoke after the Community Development Commission unanimously approved the sale of the 2.8-acre property to Arlington, Va.-based Mills. The company will pay the city $12.3 million for site, with payments spread out as the project is developed. P> The city also will receive additional payments on top of the $12.3 million as the hotel and residential components of the project are developed, but city officials declined to say how big the payout could be.

Still, $12.3 million is significantly less than the $32.5 million the city agreed to pay to take back the site from its previous owner, a development joint venture led by Chicago-based JMB Realty Corp. Yet Ms. Casalino explained that the discount is really only about $925,000, because the site was recently appraised at $13.2 million based on the city-mandated specifications that will make the project more expensive.

Mills expects to begin construction on the project next spring, with the retail space ready by late 2007. The city estimates the project, when complete, will create more than 2,660 full-time jobs and generate more than $17.5 million in annual property, sales, hotel, income and other taxes.

Mills is “in final negotiations” with WBBM/Channel 2, which would lease about 100,000-square-feet for offices and a street-level studio at the site’s southwest corner, said Mills Executive Vice-president Steven J. Jacobsen. The developer has not signed any other tenants for the development, which could comprise as much as 2 million square feet or more, including the hotel and condo towers.

Mills and city officials have long said that want a strong entertainment component in the project, but they didn’t publicly discuss the idea of a casino until now. Mayor Richard M. Daley is pushing legislators to authorize a 3,000 position gambling casino in their fall veto session shortly after the Nov. 2 election.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has traditionally opposed the concept of casino gaming in the city but recently has made comments some legislators have interpreted as a sign that willing to change his position.
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  #92  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 2:11 AM
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I don't think it would be a smart idea to put a casino across an open square to a casino.

Anyway, the casino would definitaly generate traffic, but land values would deprecciate. I myself would not likea casino in block 37.
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  #93  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 2:27 AM
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it's been floating around city hall, quietly

By Gary Washburn
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 12, 2004, 5:42 PM CDT

The City of Chicago has agreed to sell Block 37 in the Loop at a loss of nearly $23 million to help make a long-awaited development a reality on the vacant but critically important site, officials announced today.

And in a surprise revelation, Planning Commissioner Denise Casalino said the project could have a casino, in addition to the shopping center, offices, hotel and residential tower previously announced.

Block 37, bounded by State, Randolph, Washington and Dearborn Streets, would be among the locations considered for a casino if Mayor Richard Daley wins state approval for a publicly-owned gaming facility, Casalino said.

The heart-of-the-Loop site has nearby access to the Chicago Transit Authority and is close to such attractions as Millennium Park and the Michigan Avenue shopping district, she said.

Casalino said the city "has agreed to agree" with Mills Corp., Block 37's prospective developer, that "there might be a casino at this site."

Mills tentatively has agreed to purchase the land.

But Steve Jacobson, executive vice president of Mills, downplayed the possibility of gambling there, saying only that the parcel "potentially could be" the site of a casino. Planning Department spokesman Peter Scales echoed that caution, saying the casino idea was "in its infancy at best" and "not in the cards right now."

Nevertheless, Casalino's statements represented the first time a top Daley aide had mentioned a specific site for the gambling hall.

The city plans to sell the land to Mills for $12.3 million after buying back the parcel from a failed development team in 2002 for $35.2 million.
     
     
  #94  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 2:33 AM
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If it did go, it would be an instant 24-hr situation in that area. it would help the whole corridor, and continue to boost the theater district.
However. I think it is coming, but at McCormick Place. That needs a shot in the arm, and it is in direct competition with LasVegas. THere is a major expansion going on right now, even though the facility is losing shows. What could they put there in addition to more convention space?
Hmmmm.
Just like Daley to float this in the Loop, everybody goes nuts opposing it, and then he innocently points toward McCormick.
Everybody wins, even the labor unions. Rod gets to say he was saving the state's convention business.
So predictable
     
     
  #95  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 3:30 AM
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not too excited about that land becoming a casino . I agree with those who think that a casino should be part of a greater plan to spur retail and nightlife right near the convention area (new retail is already tentatively being planned there no?).
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  #96  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 3:42 AM
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How about an underwater casino 2 miles out in the lake. Build a new L line that rides above the water but then hoes underwater to go directly there inside the building.
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  #97  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 5:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan
WOW!

if true, i'm not terribly surprised. a casino would absolutely generate the foot traffic to make B37 a success, but at what social cost?
Who cares? Daddy needs a new pair of shoes...

Seriously though, anyone who's going to gamble will do it anyway. Now we just won't lose tax dollars to the suburbs, plus we'll make a bunch extra from visitors. Let them take their gambling addiction back home to Iowa, who cares?
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"Architecture is the art of balancing values: economic, aesthetic, public, private. It always involves compromise, and few architects would deny that the client's desires take precedence. But the best architects understand that they also have an obligation to the public welfare, no matter who is paying their bills. That often means investing time in educating clients rather than simply acceding to their desires."

- Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times
     
     
  #98  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 5:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrysler Guy2

Anyway, the casino would definitaly generate traffic, but land values would deprecciate. I myself would not likea casino in block 37.
Not necessarily man... this isn't Sim City. It'll be a hotel casino, and probably very very high end. Not a place for seedy types.
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"Architecture is the art of balancing values: economic, aesthetic, public, private. It always involves compromise, and few architects would deny that the client's desires take precedence. But the best architects understand that they also have an obligation to the public welfare, no matter who is paying their bills. That often means investing time in educating clients rather than simply acceding to their desires."

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  #99  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 1:20 PM
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City loses on Block 37 sale, bets on future
Daley aide says Loop site could include a casino

By Gary Washburn
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 13, 2004

The city has agreed to sell Block 37 at a loss of nearly $23 million to assure development of the long-vacant, but critically important downtown site, officials announced Tuesday.

And, in a surprise revelation, city Planning Commissioner Denise Casalino said that the State Street site could one day be home to a city-run casino, in addition to the shopping center, office high-rise, hotel and residential tower that already have been announced.

The city is willing to take a loss on the property because city planners see it as a keystone block, bounded by State, Randolph, Washington and Dearborn Streets. The city also recognizes that it has imposed conditions on developers that have reduced the land's monetary value, but not its strategic importance.

If Mayor Richard Daley wins state approval for a publicly-owned gaming facility, Block 37 would be among the locations considered for the slot machines and blackjack tables, Casalino said.

If casino legislation is passed, "the city needs to figure out the optimal site," she said. "This would be one of them under evaluation."

Block 37 has good access to Chicago Transit Authority stations.

"It's close to Millennium Park; it's close to State Street; it's near Michigan Avenue," Casalino said. "It's part of the heart of the center of the city."

The city "has agreed to agree" with Mills Corp., Block 37's developer, that "there might be a casino at this site," the commissioner said.

Steve Jacobsen, Mills executive vice president, downplayed the issue, saying that the other components will be the focus of the new development. But, "if the powers that be think [a casino] is important, we certainly will look at it," he said.

Peter Scales, a Planning Department spokesman, said later that "this idea is in its infancy at best" and "not in the cards right now."

McCormick Place site possible

Block 37 is only the second possible location mentioned by Daley administration officials as a potential casino site.

The other is the oldest and easternmost building in the McCormick Place complex.

Whether Springfield grants the authority for a city-owned casino is far from guaranteed, given Gov. Rod Blagojevich's stated opposition. Daley has promised to press his case for something he says is an economic necessity.

City officials say a gaming facility would represent a new source of desperately needed revenue as the city faces a $220 million budget gap for 2005 and projected deficits for several years after.

Daley has offered to share profits with the state.

If the city ultimately wins a casino and if Block 37 is chosen, the facility probably would be part of the hotel portion of the complex, Casalino said.

Block 37 has defied development since the 1980s as a succession of plans have been announced, only to languish and die on the drawing boards.

Jacobsen vowed to reverse that history, citing what he said was a strong corporate balance sheet and a track record of successful developments in the U.S. and abroad. The Virginia-based Mills has 28 multi-use developments worldwide.

Under an agreement that must win City Council approval, City Hall would sell Block 37 to a unit of Mills for $12.3 million, two years after buying the property back for $35.2 million from a real estate team that failed to build.

A variety of development restrictions and requirements imposed by the city since its purchase has reduced the appraised value to $13.2 million, officials said. The $925,000 difference between the value and the proposed sales price represents a city subsidy to Mills.

The price is based on a project with 1.1 million square feet and would be increased based on a complex formula if Mills ultimately were to build more than that amount, officials said.

First phase offers shopping

A first development phase, planned to begin next year, would have an upscale shopping center of about six stories that would cover the majority of the site; an office building at Dearborn and Washington; and a subterranean Chicago Transit Authority station that would provide service to O'Hare International and Midway Airports.

Jacobsen said Mills is in final negotiations with WBBM-Ch. 2 to lease nearly 100,000 square feet in the office building, including space for a TV studio that would look out onto Daley Plaza across Dearborn.

Work that will allow the CTA to connect its Red and Blue rapid transit lines as part of the station development would be financed, in part, by a $42.3 million city economic development grant.

Subsequent construction on the 2.7-acre Block 37 site would include a hotel with 200 to 300 rooms rising from the shopping center structure at the corner of Dearborn and Randolph and a residential tower, also rising from the shopping center, with 200 to 300 units at State and Randolph.

Under the proposed agreement, Mills would reserve 10 percent of the residential units for moderate-income buyers or renters. The company has not yet decided whether to build condominiums or apartments.

Ownership of the land would not pass from the city until Mills shows proof of financing for the first construction phase.

$17.5 million in revenue

The development is expected to yield $17.5 million a year in property, sales, hotel and other taxes when it is completed. That does not include revenue from a casino.

The development is critical to the continued economic development of the Loop, said Ald. Burton Natarus, whose 42nd Ward includes the downtown area.

"This is probably one of the most important projects we have had in the city of Chicago for a long, long time," he said.

"We are extremely excited at the proposal we have before us today," said Peter Skosey, vice president of the Metropolitan Planning Council.

Natarus and Skosey spoke at a meeting of the city's Community Development Commission, where commission members gave their approval to the proposed deal.

The Greater State Street Council, Friends of Downtown, Central Area Committee and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce also endorsed the development.
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  #100  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2004, 1:26 PM
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City strikes bargain with Block 37 developer

October 13, 2004

BY DAVID ROEDER AND FRAN SPIELMAN Staff Reporters


The Daley administration said Tuesday it's selling Block 37, the long vacant parcel in the middle of downtown, for about $20 million less than what it spent to buy it two years ago.

City officials said Mills Corp., their designated developer for the block between the Daley Center and Marshall Field's, will buy the site for $12.3 million. In November 2002, the city spent $32.5 million to take it off the hands of a developer who could get nothing started there.

The difference amounts to a subsidy that will help Mills begin construction of what's envisioned as a retail, office and residential complex connected to an innovative transit hub. Travelers would use the subway at the location to board express trains to the city's airports.

Executives with the city's planning department said the subsidy is justified because of "extraordinary costs'' faced by Mills in accommodating the CTA project and in building underground pedways. "We also recognize the developer is entitled to a reasonable profit,'' said Terri Haymaker, deputy commissioner for the downtown region.

Mills has proposed a retail center with linking high-rises for office, condominiums and a hotel. The plan won unanimous endorsement Tuesday from the Community Development Commission, which advises the City Council on redevelopment agreements.

But afterwards, officials said another major element -- a casino -- could figure into the design.

The Illinois Legislature may consider during its fall veto session a bill that would let a casino operate in Chicago under municipal ownership.

Asked after the commission vote whether a casino is possible for Block 37, Planning Commissioner Denise Casalino said, "It could, if it's done correctly.'' She added that it's one of several downtown locations that would be suitable.

Pressed further on the matter, Casalino glanced at Steve Jacobsen, executive vice president of Mills, and said, "We've agreed to agree there might be a casino on this site.'' She said its access to downtown hotels and restaurants, to Millennium Park and to the CTA all enhance its potential for gambling.

Later, sources in City Hall downplayed a casino for Block 37. One said it would be "unseemly'' to invite gamblers to a site adjacent to local government offices and the courts.

In addition, sources said Block 37 probably lacks the parking a casino would need. The plan calls for only about 200 underground spaces to serve a hotel and residential building.

As approved, the deal calls for Arlington, Va.-based Mills, a real-estate investment trust, to pay $12.3 million in stages. The first could come next year if title officially transfers and construction starts on the retail portion. An office building at the northeast corner of Dearborn and Washington also could be started early.

Jacobsen said Mills is negotiating lease terms with WBBM-Channel 2, the Chicago affiliate of CBS, to take 100,000 square feet in a tower that could range from 200,000 to 450,000 square feet.

The sales price would rise if market conditions allow Mills to build more than a projected 1.1 million square feet, but officials declined to estimate how much higher the payment could go.

City planners said the block, if built out to the maximum extent, could generate $17.5 million a year in various taxes.

Mills has not identified potential retail tenants but said that, unlike suburban malls, there will be no overriding department-store anchor.

Jacobsen said Mills is looking for "an assemblage of tenants that create a destination themselves.''

While he said it's too early for leases to be executed, "the level of commitment we have from tenants surpasses'' most projects at an early stage, Jacobsen said.

City officials said they have pledged $42.3 million in subsidies for the CTA to help with its costs for the airport express. That element's total budget is $172.4 million and the CTA, currently pressing state lawmakers for more money, has identified the funding sources, officials said.

Asked about the demand for the condo and hotel towers, Haymaker said their chances are best under a redevelopment granting the city a final stake in the completed package. "It's in the city's and the developer's best interests to make these buildings happen,'' she said.

The budget for the entire project, except for the residential and hotel towers that could be years away, is currently $508 million.

Mills has agreed to add Lincoln Property Co. as developer of the office tower and has said it's interviewing potential partners for the other high-rises.
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