A brief history of New Eastside

By Nicole VandeBoom | Staff Writer

Lakeshore East Park gives residents the escape of a serene oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Residents walk these sidewalks and stroll through the park daily—but do they know the history of the cement their sneakers tread?

Before rosy-cheeked children squealed through the grass, New Eastside was home to railroad steel and stone. In the mid-1800s, Chicago was faced with a shoreline flooding problem. Upscale homes built on Michigan Avenue, harboring a lakefront view, were prone to water damage. 

Chicago needed an improved harbor and seawall, but could not afford to tackle the task by itself. Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR) was in a position to provide aid, but its price was a portion of the coveted shoreline property. In exchange for constructing a break wall from Randolph St. to 22nd St., the Federal Government allotted ICRR just under two acres of land from the old Fort Dearborn. This is where Lake Shore East Park now flourishes.

In 1955, One Prudential Plaza, 130 E. Randolph St., had its grand opening. Not
only was it the first of many buildings to create the hub that is currently New Eastside, it was also the first Chicago office built after a 21-year drought. Eight years later, a residential building, 400 E. Randolph St., was built. These buildings set the stage for transforming an industrial-centered area to the beginnings of the community we know today.

In the 1980s, the term “New Eastside” came about, giving the neighborhood a name. Metropolitan Structures also constructed 14 buildings in New Eastside during the 1980s and ‘90s. From 1994 to 2001, the area now known as Lake Shore East Park was a nine-hole golf course.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Magellan Development Group stepped in with its vision and started further developing the area. Eight highrise buildings to date, along with the Village Market and Lake Shore East Park.

In 2014, GEMS World Academy Chicago opened its doors, giving the neighborhood its first K–12 school. The remaining vacant site in the northeast corner of the park is reserved for a future Chicago public school.

Looking forward, even more growth is projected for our neighborhood. Vista Tower is expected to open its doors in 2019, GEMS Upper-Middle school is in the works and plans for three to four additional residential buildings were presented to the community. These projects will continue to foster the spirit of development New Eastside has embodied throughout its history.

Information for this story was collected from the the Archives of New Eastside News, the New Eastside Association of Residents and the Magellan Development websites.

Published April 4, 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *