Alderman Reilly Rejects Symmetry’s 60-Story Mixed-Use Proposal for River North

Dear Neighbor:

I am writing to provide an update regarding Symmetry’s recent community presentation of their development proposed for Wabash & Superior.  Based upon my review of their mixed-use proposal and its related traffic impacts on the immediately surrounding neighborhood, I have informed Symmetry that I will not support their Planned Development Application.  As such, their current proposal, or slight variations thereof, will not move forward.

Our recent community presentation with the River North Residents Association (RNRA) was very well attended and several hundred participants had many opinions to share and questions to ask about the proposed uses, density, quality-of-life factors and traffic impacts. The meeting lasted several hours and every participant was given a chance to be heard.

Based on the significant negative feedback my office has received expressing concerns regarding potential traffic impacts and the multiple uses (and intensity of uses) proposed for the site, I took the time to re-read the Developer’s traffic study, cover-to-cover.

Because all parking ingress & egress and all loading activities are proposed to be staged out of a public alley to the north of the development site, I personally visited the site on several different days to observe loading activities and traffic patterns occurring in the alley.  Based on my personal observations, the proposed parking and loading scheme that would utilize the public alley simply will not work for this proposal.

We also registered numerous concerns related to existing traffic circulation (or lack thereof) in the immediate neighborhood. Having observed the (poor) functionality of Superior Street during the afternoon and evening hours – the vehicular traffic on that street is currently reduced to one lane, eastbound on a routine basis. It is fair to assume additional curbside activities like taxicabs; Uber, limousine service and party buses will spill over onto (virtually non-functioning) Superior Street and exacerbate an already-untenable condition.

The poor traffic conditions on Superior Street and conflicts with potential usage of the public alley for ingress/egress to the site are compounded by the congestion resulting from pick-ups in the western-most southbound traffic lane at the Frances Xavier Warde School on the west side of Wabash Avenue. This must be addressed regardless of a new development.

There are also valid concerns about the intensity of the multiple uses on the site. Symmetry’s proposal would call for a 725-foot tall, 60-story tower containing 216 hotel keys, 120 timeshare units, 246 condominium units and roughly 30,000 square feet of retail at-grade. This combination of uses suggests heavy volumes of deliveries, curbside pick-up/drop-off, special event traffic and buses. It’s simply too much for this block.

Because I will not support this Planned Development proposal or the additional FAR the Developer wishes to purchase through density bonus payments – I have encouraged Symmetry to consider other options for this site, including:

(1)    Propose a Planned Development that does not seek to purchase additional FAR for development of the site and – rather than propose multiple, intense uses – strongly consider pursuing a single use, such as a residential project.

(2)    Consider forgoing a Planned Development altogether and work to determine what could be developed under their existing development entitlements and zoning restrictions related to height, uses, etc.

I have informed Commissioner Reifman and the Department of Planning that this proposal will not be moving forward.  We look forward to reviewing any future proposal with the Developer, so long as it is aligned with the suggestions outlined above.  Once we receive any new proposal for this site, my office will promptly notify impacted neighbors and communicate next steps for our transparent community process.


Brendan Reilly

Vice Mayor of Chicago

Alderman, 42nd Ward

For more information about Symmetry’s proposal, click on the following links to download the slideshow presentation from 3/13/17 community meeting, traffic study, as-of-right massing diagram, and meeting summary.

2017 River North Business Expo & Business After Hours

Name: 2017 River North Business Expo and Business After Hours

Date: April 19, 2017

Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Registration: REGISTER NOW

From start-ups to hospitality to national brands, River North is the heart of innovation and business in Chicago.  Bring plenty of business cards and join fellow business owners and entrepreneurs at the 2017 RNBA Business Expo, occurring at the Metropolitan Club in Willis Tower!  Through educational workshops and exhibitor displays, this year’s Expo will help you learn, grow, and elevate your business to the next level.  Whether you are in the process of forming your business, your business is new, or your business is well established, the Expo is the premiere place to meet experienced businesses that will provide the assistance, guidance, and resources for your business needs.  Exhibitors include businesses in the legal, technology, financial, marketing, hospitality, printing industries.

The Expo’s educational workshops are free to attendees, but you must register in advance as space is limited.  Spaces will fill up quickly, so make your selection early!  Please choose one session at each time when registering.


The Metropolitan Club

67th Floor – Willis Tower


Date/Time Information:

Wednesday, April 19

Schedule of Events

5:00 – 8:00          Expo and Open Networking

6:00 – 7:50          Optional Education Sessions

6:00 – 6:30          Session 1

David Choi – Owner, Seoul Taco

“Successful Small Business Startup Story”

6:40 – 7:10          Session 2

Mark Canak – Sommelier, Metropolitan Club

“Wine Etiquette for Business Entertaining”

Session 3

Meghan Stokes – Attorney

Speaker, Marty Padilla and Associates

“Negotiation Workshop”

7:20 – 7:50          Session 4

Mark Canak – Sommelier, Metropolitan Club

“Wine Etiquette for Business Entertaining”


7:50                        Business Card Drawing (must be present to win)

Contact Information:

Meghan Stokes or Marty Padilla



This event is April’s Business After Hours event but will be complimentary for all attendees. No coupons or cash will be needed for admittance but please register in advance for planning purposes.

Save the Date! Register now for Love your Mother Earth Annual Earth Day Clean-up at Ward Park

RNRA joins Friends of the Park and the Chicago Park District for a clean-up at Ward Park on April 22 from 9:00 – 12:00.  Come join us to celebrate Earth Day.  To register, click here.

Ward Park is located at 630 N. Kingsbury Street on the corner of Kingsbury and Erie.

Friends of the Parks’ Earth Day Parks & Preserves Clean Up and Celebration began 28 years ago as a way to engage communities in their local parks and forest preserves. Today, FOTP partners with a multitude of other groups including: Friends of the Forest Preserves, Chicago Park District, and Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Love Your Mother Earth: 28th Annual Earth Day Clean-Up will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 9AM to Noon, in parks throughout the Chicago area. From Noon to 2PM there will be a celebration at Humboldt Park (including lunch, games, and activities for all ages)!

Your votes are in! Stay tuned for the results and dates!

Each year since 2006, RNRA has hosted a series of free outdoor films on the riverfront in A. Montgomery Ward Park, located on the southwest corner of Kingsbury and Erie in River North. Films begin at dusk and include popcorn.  Most films are attended by approximately 400-600 people, and picnicking is common.  Come early to get a good spot!
Community input is always considered when determining the films that will be presented each year.  Votes are in for 2017!  The final lineup and schedule will be posted soon on our website and in our e-newsletters.  Stay Tuned!
Thanks, we look forward to seeing you in Ward Park!