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Dear Reader,

Welcome to the CAC Watch List—a new online resource informing you about current design initiatives and projects shaping our cityscape. Developed by our CAC staff, with input from a large cross-section of local design professionals, the CAC Watch List is not meant to be exhaustive. Rather, it’s a spot-check of what’s on our radar and an aid to your own exploration of Chicago.

We hope you enjoy this complement to our year-round schedule of lectures and public events.


Lynn J. Osmond, Hon. AIA, CAE
President and CEO
Chicago Architecture Center


How does the CAC Watch List differ from other collections or archives of current projects around Chicago?
The key difference is that the CAC Watch List is not meant to be exhaustive. Instead, it is a curated selection of new design and development in the city. We select projects based on a combination of their scale, local impact and issues or trends in the built environment to which they relate. As much as possible, projects included in the CAC Watch List reflect areas of interest to the CAC. Certain topics, such as affordable housing or ecologically friendly design, are central to our public programs, exhibitions and youth education initiatives; they also overlap in many cases with City Hall initiatives addressing neighborhood connectivity, livability and heightened investment in infrastructure and the public realm. We are interested, as well, in covering innovative architecture and design where we see it.

What criteria are applied to the selection of projects?
Common criteria include:

Scale: Projects are judged to be of sufficient size—whether in terms of square feet, height, or investment—to have a distinct impact on our city as well as the public interest. This is assessed relative to project type and location.

Status: Projects must be on a path to approval. Once past a year since completion, projects will be retired from the CAC Watch List and archived.

Location: The CAC Watch List strives to include projects from all areas of the city.

Type: The CAC Watch List strives to include a range of project types, based on their intended use.

Themes: Projects should address at least one core theme, issue or subject being tracked by the CAC.

Who authors the CAC Watch List?
Project and issue entries are written and edited by CAC Public Programs staff.

How are “city areas” defined?
The eight city areas used to sort and categorize project entries are intended as convenient geographic locators within Chicago’s city limits. Individual projects are also identified by community area (Chicago’s 77 official neighborhoods). The City Areas in the CAC Watch List are loosely bounded as follows:

  • Downtown (North, Roosevelt, Ashland, Lake Michigan)
  • North Side (Montrose, North, Western, Lake Michigan)
  • Far North Side (Howard, Montrose, western city limit, Lake Michigan)
  • Northwest Side (Foster, North, western city limit, Western)
  • West Side (Grand, Roosevelt, Austin, Ashland)
  • Southwest Side (Eisenhower Expressway, southern city limit, western city limit, Ashland)
  • South Side (Roosevelt, 63rd Street, Ashland, Lake Michigan)
  • Far South Side (63rd Street, southern city limit, Ashland, Lake Michigan)

How long does a project entry remain on the CAC Watch List once complete?
Projects featured will typically “age out” into the archive one year past completion. One exception could be a project developed through multiple phases; a project may also be retained beyond one year when we feel there is significant value in extending its stay.

Can I read about projects retired from the CAC Watch List?
Yes! All projects covered, once retired, will be archived at

Where can I direct my questions, comments or suggestions?
Your feedback is welcome and encouraged via email to We look forward to hearing from you and will respond in as timely a manner as we are able.