Framework for Planning & Zoning

The Streeterville neighborhood is home to more than 30,000 residents, important cultural, educational, medical and religious institutions, tourist attractions and some of the world’s greatest retail and dining operations. Streeterville, characterized as “the economic heart of the City,” is a destination for millions of visitors annually, coming from across the nation and around the world. Like these visitors, Streeterville residents understand, appreciate and enjoy the diversity that comes from the unique mix of uses.

The Streeterville community, whose geographical boundaries are the Chicago River on the south, East Lake Shore Drive/Oak Street on the north, Lake Michigan on the east and Rush Street on the west, has evolved into three distinct areas:  

  • North Streeterville (East Lake Shore Drive/Oak Street to Chicago Avenue):  Primarily residential with many vintage buildings
  • Central Streeterville  (Chicago Avenue to Ohio Street):  Increasingly dominated by the institutional presence of Northwestern University, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
  • South Streeterville  (Ohio Street to the Chicago River):  Historically occupied by light industry with growing residential presence, offering the greatest untapped potential for new development


Real Estate Review Process

SOAR is a grassroots organization founded in 1975 as a voice for residents in Streeterville.  Initially created as a response to the then-ongoing demolition of important historic buildings and with a proactive goal to influence positive development, SOAR remains committed to a thorough and thoughtful planning process that fosters a viable balance among residential, institutional, commercial, retail, recreational and mixed use development.  We are proud to share the stewardship of this community with mutually committed stakeholders interested in enhancing the assets of a community key to the success of the City of Chicago itself.

SOAR believes all stakeholders owe succeeding generations an architectural legacy that enriches a sense of the past, underscores identity, adds character, encourages diversity and lends interest to the community.  We champion the development of buildings that meet the highest aesthetic, engineering, environmental and functional standards available.  We also advocate landmarking, preservation and thoughtful redevelopment of the historic and architecturally valuable buildings remaining in Streeterville.

SOAR's development review process was established early on, evolving to meet the new challenges of every generation.  Task force members first meet with a developer to examine and understand a specific proposal; meet with association boards of directors and other residents most impacted by the proposal, and, based on these interactions and the knowledge base of SOAR volunteers, take critiques and suggestions back to the developer.  In private meetings and public hearings, SOAR works closely with local and, when appropriate, state and federal officials and staff members, in order to articulate positions and shape and integrate projects into the neighborhood in a manner beneficial to the community, the developer and residents of the proposed building.


Planning and Zoning Principles for Streeterville Development

The Planning and Zoning Principles for Streeterville Development, which informs and guides this process, was first codified in 2004.  New editions, including this one, are published when some significant issues emerge and others become less consequential.

SOAR encourages developers to review, consider and adopt the Principles, which represent the collective pillars of good development espoused by volunteer neighbors in SOAR task forces and the Board of Directors.


Specific Streeterville Development Projects

Information on the status of soft sites, proposals under review and approved projects can be found using the following links:

  • Proposals Under Review - Streeterville locations for which a developer has a specific proposal.  These proposals are under review by SOAR and the City of Chicago
  • Approved Projects - Streeterville locations for which a specific development or redevelopment project has been approved by the City of Chicago.  Construction may or may not have started on these projects