image of chinatown public library

Upcoming Construction in Chinatown, Chicago

This article digs into planned construction in Chicago’s Chinatown.

Chicago’s Chinatown is uniquely historic in that it is a century-old neighborhood.  The myriad shops and restaurants give Chinatown an incomparable visual presence in the city.  More than a third of Chicago’s Chinese population resides in Chinatown.

Although the neighborhood is now centered on Cermak and Wentworth Avenues, Chicago’s major Chinese hub was located in the Loop until a 1912 migration to the South Side.

These projects are sourced from BuildCentral’s ConstructionWire with a search for projects in planning, under construction, or already completed within the Chinatown neighborhood using the Chicago River, South Clark and Federal Streets, West 18th Street, and the Stevenson Expressway as the neighborhood’s boundaries.

Planned Construction in Chinatown 

Screenshot from BuildCentral’s ConstructionWire of Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood outlined by Geospex’s Custom Boundary Area tool

Above is a screenshot from BuildCentral’s ConstructionWire of Geospex’s mapping tool. Using Geospex’s Custom Boundary Area tool, we outlined the Chinatown neighborhood with the aforementioned boundaries of the Chicago River, South Clark and South Federal Streets, West 18th Street railroad, and Stevenson Expressway in mind. Not only does this tool allow us to isolate only those construction projects that fall within the Chinatown area (or any area that you want to define), but it also provides us with construction and demographic data about the bounded region.

Below, for example, are Chinatown’s construction and demographic data, courtesy of ConstructionWire and Geospex.

Screenshot of Chinatown’s planned construction data sourced from Geospex’s Custom Boundary Area tool

According to the counts above, as of this article’s writing, Chinatown currently has just one project either in planning or under construction, per ConstructionWire. That said, the area does have nine recently completed projects. Additionally, you can see estimated total values for those projects.

Screenshot of Chinatown’s demographic data sourced from Geospex’s Custom Boundary Area tool

Now, it’s time to dig into some of Chinatown’s construction projects.

Consolidated Benevolent Association Senior Housing

Geospex screenshot of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Assocation Senior Housing project

A representative from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association has said that this project is still in its planning stages.

Project Type/Size: MultiFamily (92 units), Retail/Office/Athletic Facilities (50,000-99,999 sq-ft)
Construction Type: New
Estimated Value: $5-$25 million
Sector: Private
Location: ChicagoIL 60616. 246-262 West 22nd Place
Details: Plans call for the construction of a seven-story, 92-unit senior housing development for Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Chicago on a 17,556-square-foot site. There will be a 20,000-square-foot community center.
Stage: Planning (Active)
Construction End: N/A
Bid Due Date: N/A

New Chan Commercial Building 

The Chicago City Council has reviewed the New Chan site plan.  

Geospex screenshot of New Chan Commercial Building project

Project Type/Size:  Retail (25,000-49,999 sq-ft) 
Construction Type:  New 
Estimated Value:  $5-$25 million 
Sector:  Private 
Location:  Chicago, IL 60616. 1930-2050 S. Jefferson St. 
Details:  Plans call for construction of a 30,000 to 40,000-square-foot commercial space and 150 parking spaces for New Chan. 
Stage:  Planning (Active) 
Construction End:  N/A 
Bid Due Date:  N/A 

Notable Completed Construction in Chinatown 

Leonard M. Louie Fieldhouse

Leonard M. Louie Fieldhouse at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chicago’s Chinatown (Courtesy Public Building Commission of Chicago)

Adjacent to the nearby construction of the Wells-Wentworth Corridor which will connect Chinatown with Chicago’s Loop, this structure was named for the late Advisory Council member and prominent Chinese-American Leonard M. Louie after its completion in October 2013. Located adjacent Chinatown’s Ping Tom Memorial Park, the fieldhouse facility offers a gym, a pool, locker rooms, showers, and WiFi to park visitors who might be taking advantage of the area’s boat launch, water taxi, athletic fields, or playgrounds.

Project Type/Size: Office, Mfg./Industrial/Warehouse, Cultural/Social, Athletic Facilities, Green Buildings
Construction Type: New
Estimated Value: $2.33 million
Sector: Public
Location: ChicagoIL 60601 (View Map)
Details: Plans call for the construction of a 25,000-square-foot single-story building. The building will include a competition-size gymnasium, storage areas, restrooms and locker rooms, a fitness room, club rooms, a pantry and administrative support offices. The project uses load-bearing pre-cast concrete wall panels and a non-load bearing curtain wall system, skylights and clerestory windows for effective day lighting as well as a green roofing system. The site will seek LEED Silver certification and includes a minimum 50% green roof.
Stage: Completed
Construction Start: 2012
Construction End: N/A
Bid Due Date: N/A

SpringHill Suites Chinatown Hotel

SpringHill Suites Chinatown Hotel (Courtesy REJournals)

This SpringHill Suites in Chinatown opened in June 2021 after about two years in planning, per BuildCentral’s ConstructionWire records. The hotel is just the latest in a series of hotels built in Chinatown within the last few years, significantly upping Chinatown’s profile not just as a cultural center, but also as a local and tourist attraction.

Project Type/Size: Hotels (148 rooms)
Construction Type: Addition/Expansion
Estimated Value: $15.4 million
Sector: Private
Location: ChicagoIL 60616. 2353 S Wentworth Ave
Details: Plans call for the construction of a new five-story addition as a part of a conversion of an existing building into a new 148-room SpringHill Suites hotel.
Stage: Completed
Construction Start: Q4/2019
Construction End: 6/2021
Bid Due Date: N/A

Chicago’s Chinatown is as crucial an area of Chicago as there is when it comes to understanding how the city has planned its development. The neighborhood has seen an increase in hotels, cultural center renovations, retail and dining opportunities in the last five years.

With numerous recreational activities and an expanded presence on the adjacent waterfront, Chicago’s ambition to take advantage of and highlight its signature neighborhoods’ resources is evident in its development of Ping Tom Memorial Park.

While Chinatown’s waterfront begins to flourish, it also must prepare for the influx of additional construction projects, new residents and visitors, and, of course, traffic that will come with the introduction of The 78 to the northeast of Chinatown. The 78 North involves four projects almost sure to impact the area’s everyday happenings.

Understandably, neighborhood residents and advocates are concerned about how Chinatown will maintain its authentic cultural identity and confront the economic consequences of The 78’s arrival. Check back for more on The 78 and the Chicago neighborhoods that figure to feel its impact.

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