Ideas to revitalize State Street unveiled by Urban Land Institute-led panel

Revitalizing State Street should include improving streetscapes, adding more art and light displays, creating new programs tied to major city events and periodically closing the street to vehicle traffic, according to new recommendations from a city-commissioned panel.

The Urban Land Institute Chicago, in partnership with the Chicago Loop Alliance and the Department of Planning and Development, organized the panel to develop strategies to revamp the stretch of State Street between Wacker Drive and Ida B. Wells Drive.

The Urban Land Institute will share all of its recommendations Wednesday evening at the Harold Washington Library Center.

“Reclaiming State Street as Chicago’s great street, a place for world-class culture, entertainment, education, and quintessential Chicago experiences for residents and visitors alike, is essential for the vibrancy and long-term health of the downtown and the city,” said Mark Kelly, Urban Land Institute Chicago’s panel chair, in a news release about the recommendations.

The panel also suggested establishing new districts along State Street:

  • The northern third of the street would be the North Anchor Arts District, creating a consortium of downtown arts organizations that connect to public events on State Street.
  • The Center Anchor Retail District would be dedicated to strengthening businesses and supporting office and residential spaces along the middle third of the street. The panel recommends creating spaces on the street for visitors to sit and dine, working with owners to develop themed retail areas and increasing lighting and decorations for holidays and seasonal events, such as the Macy’s holiday window displays.
  • The South Anchor Civic and Educational District would situate the Harold Washington Library as a dedicated community center and incorporate ways “to support collegiate life” in and around State Street.

“The ULI Chicago panel is honored to present recommendations for the future of State Street, a street tied intimately to the rhythm of Chicago and all of its 77 community areas,” Kelly said.

ULI Chicago will host a community meeting Wednesday evening to present the recommendations. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium Theater in the Harold Washington Library Center. Reserve a ticket here. Ideas to revitalize State Street unveiled by Urban Land Institute-led panel

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