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Photos: Navy Pier Has More Big Makeover Plans In The Works

By Emma G. Gallegos in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 27, 2016 9:50PM

Navy Pier, a destination that tourists love and locals hate, is in the midst of a major makeover just in time for its centennial. Some pieces of the overhaul have already been finished, like a new Ferris Wheel with swanky gondolas, a ice-skating rink, a new larger play fountain at the entrance and lots of landscaping. But last night officials released more detailed plans and renderings, including more information about a hotel long in the works.

Curbed Chicago reports that 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) hosted a meeting last night to unveil early yet highly ambitious plans for the pier to the public. Here's a sample of some of the cooler ideas.

James Corner Field Operations—the firm behind New York's High Line—proposed creating an elevated walkway at the end of the pier. Curbed says there would also be a new shallow reflecting pool that is being called "Lake Mirror."

A hotel on Navy Pier has long been in the works, but officials released more details and renderings at Tuesday's meeting. Curbed says the hotel will have 240 rooms and be seven stories. The bottom two floors will be full of dining and entertainment options, and the top five floors will be for guests. There will also be a rooftop bar and restaurant.

The pier's western entrance has already been outfitted with the aforementioned play fountain, and the new Polk Brothers Park is under construction. Curbed reports there are also proposals for a 4,000-square-foot welcome pavilion under a berm that will host a cafe, a small exhibition space, restrooms and a visitor information center.

If all of this sounds like a lot, that's because these plans are in the very early stages. There's no timeline nor, crucially, any funding attached to many of these projects. With the exception of the hotel, funding hasn't been secured and Navy Pier is looking for private funding. Brian Murphy, Chief Operating Officer at Navy Pier, told Curbed, "Whoever helps with that funding obviously may have a voice in what they'd like to see and we may have to tweak the plans."