After several failed attempts, 'The 78' development coming to South Loop

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CHICAGO — After several failed attempts over the years, a massive development called “The 78” is headed to the South Loop.

Signs on the future construction are already in place and crews will break ground in a matter of months.

The first phase of the development will include nearly 3,000,000 square feet of apartments, student housing, retail space and a University of Illinois innovation center called The Discovery Partners Institute.

Wednesday morning, Gov. Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot were joined by University of Illinois leaders to announce the first phase.

“Building the DPI campus here at The 78, a site that’s sat vacant for way too long, is a very important for our city now but also for the future,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “Education, technology, entrepreneurship, housing and infrastructure all right here.”

The governor confirmed that $500 million for the project will come from state capital funding. Hundreds of millions more is coming through private and other public funds.

Eventually, the 62-acre project will stretch from the South Loop to Chinatown. The city will also be investing a future Red Line stop.

Gov. Pritzker credited former Mayor Emanuel for relentlessly pursuing the project, even after leaving office.

“He said that DPI would anchor and ecosystem of tech growth and become an unparalleled engine of opportunity for our state,” Gov. Pritzker said.

The president of Related Midwest said this may be the biggest real estate project in Chicago history. Phase one is focused on the north end of the site and is projected to be finished in 2024.

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