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Table of Contents > Chapter 1

The Loop (continued)

While Marina Towers began this residential return to the heart of Chicago, the North Loop redevelopment bogged for a time in politics and competing plans. The South Loop, however, began to prosper as a residential area with private development. Old office and loft buildings underwent a renewal that began in the 1970s and has continued into 1980s. The South Loop has become a popular place to live and has recently been christened Burnham Park. Its major development has been the conversion of old loft building Printer's Row, along Dearborn and Plymouth Court, into condominiums or rental apartments. These conversions supplemented by the new townhouses and apartments of Dearborn Park, which was heralded by Mayor Michael Bilandic in the late 1970s as Chicago's newest neighborhood. Since that time the trend has continued with the construction of River City just south of the Loop and the Presidential Towers just west of the Loop. All of these developments have brought residents back into the center city. Most of these people, however, tend to be single or couples without children. Generally speaking, it is still difficult to attract families into the central city.

All of this new development has occurred with the hope that it will help retail sales on State Street and keep Chicago's downtown a vital shopping center. While State Street has not fared badly at all when compared to central business districts in other American cities, it has continued to change. Developers are looking at State Street as a site for more office towers. Although Michigan Avenue has taken some of the trade from State Street, the retail center of the city still remains close to its historical and geographical center. The Loop is now redeveloping as a residential and commercial district. That does not mean that its retail functions will disappear, it simply means that they will be altered in proportion to new functions. The presence of apartments in old office and loft buildings may also mean that more entertainment will return to the Loop. All the developments will create a new and very interesting Loop.

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Figure 1: Dearborn Park housing development, State, Polk, Clark, and Roosevelt Road, 1985.  »

Figure 2: River City, east bank of the Chicago River south of Harrison Street, 1985. »

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