How does the new Navy Pier stack up against our fantasy Navy Pier?
Yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a plan to spruce up Chicago's downtown lakefront. The $1.1 billion project includes a new arena for DePaul University across from McCormick Place, a boutique hotel, flyover bike paths and a $278 million face-lift for Navy Pier.
It remains up for debate how much a 10,000-seat basketball arena for a team that hasn't won in years—soon to be playing schools like Creighton and Butler in a crumbling Big East Conference—will do to boost the economy of the South Loop. At least Fall Out Boy will have a new place to play.
The rehabilitation of Navy Pier is far more intriguing and overdue. The new construction, expected to begin in fall, includes a fountain, an expanded Children's Museum and more restaurants (whether those will be themed after Tom Hanks movies has not been disclosed).
Potential Navy Pier upgrades were initiated two years ago. We put together a feature about it, and envisioned 15 fantastical fixes for the tourist magnet. Compare our vision (pictured above) to the city's concept. We hoped for a water park, soul club, doughnut factory, microbrewery, floating car silo, storefront theater, skate park and more. But, you know, a fountain that transforms into a skating rink is cool, I guess.