woman stands in front of tall buildings


A New Center for Chicago Soul

A former rail and lumber yard, the site of The 78 captures the industrious spirit of Chicago and its connection to the same logistical and geographic advantages that brought the city into being and let it thrive.

Inspiration for The 78 has been drawn from local culture around the site, and the vision for the project includes creating a place of authenticity — a place with “Chicago Soul.”

The 78 Future Aerial_Looking Northeast

The development includes a mixed-use plan that is vibrant all year, including winter, and is focused on the river. The Chicago Riverwalk connects downtown to our doorstep, and a half mile of open riverfront at The 78 is devoted to recreation, culture, dining and waterside events. Riverside programming and family attractions will draw people from all around the city.

The Wells-Wentworth promenade will be the focal point for local shops and essential retail. As the “High Street” of The 78, this tree-lined boulevard will be pedestrian-friendly, and also include an elevated bike path and double-wide vehicle parkway, all in separate lanes to ensure maximum walkability and enjoyment.

wells street

The Story of The 78

    It all began when...

    400 Million BC

    A tropical sea lays down the limestone that will become Chicago's skyscrapers. 


    Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable arrived on the shore of Lake Michigan becoming the first permanent non-Indigenous settler of what will become Chicago.


    Chicago is founded and becomes an epicenter of trade. 


    The Great Chicago Fire destroys 2,000 acres of the city - but The 78 is spared. 


    The Plan of Chicago reshapes the city through civic space and transportation. The 78's role? A massive rail yard.


    Next to The 78, the Chicago River is straightened for easier passage.


    Amtrak takes over Union Station, hastening the end of The 78 as a rail yard.


    With rail lines removed, The 78 is now vacant.


    Carol Ross Barney designs the Chicago Riverwalk, that will eventually extend into The 78.


    Related Midwest announces a plan to reimagine the site.


    DPI selects The 78 as the future home of their research institution.


    The vision for The 78 is unveiled.


    Plans for The 78 are approved and infrastructure work begins.

    2020 and beyond

    Join us and watch Chicago's newest neighborhood begin to take shape. #HereComesThe78

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The Past

At one time the Chicago River ran through this acreage, but this is the city that works! And in 1929 Chicago city planners straightened it, providing The 78 with a half mile of coveted waterfront property - which quickly became waterfront railroad tracks.

The Present

Today construction crews are working on linking Chinatown with the Loop through the Wells Wentworth Connector. The new streetscape is part of the first phase of vital infrastructure improvements at the site. The Wells Wentworth Connector is designed as an outdoor promenade and parkway to accommodate vehicles, bikes and pedestrians.

In time, the emergence of local businesses and gathering places will be a main draw for visitors to The 78.

people walk through water fountatin

The Future

With The 78, we are creating a modern riverfront innovation district — a 21st-century corporate campus, with wide-ranging retail and restaurant diversions, cultural attractions and thousands of new homes — not to mention a wide array of waterfront activities.

The Wells-Wentworth Connector is the first of what will ultimately be three new roads. Other infrastructure investments include relocating and integrating existing Metra tracks; the reconstruction of the Chicago River sea wall; and the development of a new CTA Red Line station. A new water taxi stop will ferry passengers straight to the heart of the Loop.

Riverwalk South with pedestrians and boats
Discovery Partners Institute Conceptual Rendering

With the addition of Discovery Partners Institute, companies at The 78 will take on new challenges with game-changing collaboration and research. These public-private partnerships are the fuel for economic growth and job creation, making The 78 an essential technology hub in the heart of the city.

Here's What's Happening

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