Explore award-winning projects across Chicago.

Join these exclusive in-person tours led by the visionaries who developed each project. Gain behind-the-scenes insights and connect with your peers in a small group setting.


Down on the Boardwalk: Chatham Reactivated

In response to COVID restrictions effecting restaurants, the City of Chicago created a program designed to activate restaurant business and provide outdoor community gathering spaces across Chicago. This tour will take us to one of these sites — the 75th Street Boardwalk — in the south side Chatham neighborhood designed to create unique community connections. Join us to tour other nearby impactful community development spaces that offer workforce develoment programs and community hub facilities, including fSeaway Bank Community Hub and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.

Monday, October 11
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

P3: Innovative Urban Solutions

This tour will visit four sites just southwest of the central business district, one of the earliest areas of entry for immigrants to the City of Chicago. This area covers multiple neighborhoods and has been reinvented many times over the past 150 years. The early history, urban renewal, public housing and education and current status will all be covered on this tour. Highlights include a P3 with the University of Illinois at Chicago, a ‘new urbanist’ neighborthood partially funded with TIF, a new housing/public library facility and an proposed public housing museum.

Monday, October 11
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

Lathrop’s New Legacy: Transforming Public Housing

Explore Lathrop, a forward-thinking community rooted in a rich cultural past designed for people from all walks of life. This revitalized community infuses the historic architecture of the original neighborhood with the modern touches of today’s lifestyle. The 34-acre site is situated between Bucktown and Roscoe Village, two of Chicago’s trending neighborhoods, and bordered by the Chicago River. Lathrop is a mixed-income community that includes public, affordable and market-rate housing along with significant green and open space. Representatives from Related Midwest and their community partners will guide participants through the unique, award-winning development.

Monday, October 11
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

Chicago’s Titans

Chicago’s South Loop includes two historic and iconic buildings that have recently undergone major redevelopment and renovation. The Old Post Office, built in 1921 and expanded in 1932, supported Chicago’s booming mail-order business, and was the world’s largest mail terminal with 19M pieces of mail processed daily. The property sat vacant for two decades, until 2016 when new ownership began a $900M renovation. The largest historic redevelopment in history, completed in 2019, TOPO now boasts 2.5M+ SF of multi-use offices and stunning event spaces. Willis Tower has stood as a fixture in Chicago’s skyline since 1973. The iconic 110-story skyscraper is home to 15,000 office workers and welcomes thousands of tourists daily to its Skydeck experience on the 103rd floor. A $500M redevelopment project, completed this year, yielded redesigned lobby areas, a dining, retail, entertainment destination, new amenity and event spaces, and art installations by renown artists Jacob Hashimoto and Olafur Eliasson.

Monday, October 11
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

Industrial Incubators

In 2019, the City developed the Kinzie Industrical Corridor Modernization Plan to position the industrial corridor to adapt to changing manufacturing climate and the presuure to convert manufacturing to other uses, such as resiential. The uses in a portion of the corridor would be broadened from traditional manufacturing to include office and some light food-related retail. The City made a commitment for the rest of the corridor to remain industrial, giving those businesses confidence to remain and invest in their own growth in Chicago. Visit two manufacturing incubator sites instrumental in the implementation of that goal and in the growth of start up and small manufacturing and food productions businesses.

Monday, October 11
8:45 AM – 12:45 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

Pullman: The History and The New

Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood was one of the nation’s first and most beautifully planned industrial communities. Located on the City’s South Side, the once booming neighborhood was written off 20 years ago. In 2015, though, President Obama designated Pullman a National Monument, giving momentum to turnaround. Pullman is now a national model for revitalization, with new jobs, retail, housing and a recreational center complementing existing historic homes and architecture. Join us for a tour of this historic neighborhood and see the transformation, first-hand.
Monday, October 11
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

And We’re Live! Theater, Entertainment & Developing New Venues

Chicago has no shortage of music venues and theaters, all which serve as critical community anchors. This tour will feature two of Chicago’s newest venues including the Steppenwolf Theater, home to the nation’s premier Ensemble theatre group, and will showcase their vision and creativty come to life in a just-completed theater in the round and education center. Tour participants will also get to see Chicago’s historic Morton Salt Factory, a landmark statused building that is in the midst of a $30M transformation into a music venue and office building. Both projects have risen through the pandemic and are poised to continue Chicago’s rich history in theater, arts, music and entertainment.

Monday, October 11
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

Play Ball! Wrigley Field’s Redevelopment Story

In 2009, the Ricketts family assumed control of the Chicago Cubs and, in addition to bringing home a World Series win and restoring Wrigley Field, they promised to celebrate and enhance their beloved Wrigleyville neighborhood. While the Wrigleyville neighborhood was bustling with activity on game day – on a non-game day, the area was devoid of activity and commerce. The new mixed-used entertainment district, Gallagher Way, that was previously under-utilized as a parking lot and McDonald’s, has created a community asset that delights baseball fans, tourists and neighborhood residents while also serving as an economic engine. The much-needed community green space provides programmed and casual community functions year-round in an urban civic-space that creates the complete Chicago neighborhood experience. Hotel Zachary includes 16 restaurant and retail tenants, and an easy place for out of town Cubs fans to stay when coming for a ball game!

Monday, October 11
9:15 AM – 12:30 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

Industrial Revolution | The Resurgence of Urban Industrial

Industrial development is booming, and that certainly is the case in Chicago! Join us as we tour three urban industrial sites, all with different uses within the City of Chicago. This tour will visit a big box, last-mile distribution center along the I-55 corridor and we will hear from both the developer and occupier about why this project and this location. Moving along the I-55 corridor, the tour will next visit the Pilsen neighborhood, an area that has seen significant redevelopment from cold storage users and investors. We will have a developer and contractor walk guests through a cold storage facility and discuss the specialized design of this product type and how users operate in these buildings. The tour will conclude at The Plant, a former meat packing facility, now transformed into a sustainable multi-use incubator space, that many developers wanted to tear down. Pizza, beer and an overview of Chicago’s famous Stockyards will also be included at this stop!

Monday, October 11
10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
$125 Full-day bus tour with lunch

Coolest Neighborhoods in the World: Uptown

Chicago is a city of unique neighborhoods, and getting to know them is a great way to better understand this city. Voted one of TimeOut magazine’s “Coolest 40 Neighborhoods in the World”, Uptown is a diverse community on the north side of the City with spectacular lake side views, a growing entertainment district and a thriving food and cultural scene. Led by members of the local economic development group, the Uptown neighborhood tour will engage the local Alderman in a discussion about housing and development in the area, pass by street art installations and historic theaters, tour a unique adaptive re-use of a mid-century office building into market rate apartments and retail, and will end at Asia on Argyle with an overview of the Asian-American owned businesses that call Uptown home.

Monday, October 11
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

A River Runs Through It: Transforming the Waters Edge

Explore Chicago’s iconic waterfront transformation and development. Walk along the river that cuts through the city which has been transformed into a major public amenity at the river level. Hear from architect Carol Ross Barney, as she explains the vision and challenges related to the river front’s transformation. Visit Lakeshore East, an award-winning 28-acre development in the heart of downtown Chicago. Originally used for the Illinois Central Railroad, repurposed into a 9-hole golf course in the 90’s and now a vibrant residential and mixed-used neighborhood the iconic Aqua and St. Regis towers. Ending the tour at one of Chicago’s most well-known tourist destinations, Navy Pier. Hear about preserving the history while transforming the pier into the ‘People’s Pier’ featuring more than 50 acres of public parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, exposition facilities and more. Including Navy Pier’s first Hotel, Sable at Navy Pier, which recently opened in March of 2021.

Monday, October 11
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
$75 Half-day walking tour

Where’s the Beef? Fulton Market District Walking Tour

Join us for a walking tour of the Fulton Market District featuring the pioneers of Fulton Market District who transofmred the former meatpacking, produce, and industrial area into one of the most sought after destinations for food, hospitality, art, technology, and business, and is now home to Google, McDonald’s and Mondelez. The journey will highlight some of the neighborhood’s most prominent developments of office, residential, retail, and hospitality and provide an in-depth opportunity to hear the stories from the transformational developers themselves who took a chance on this overlooked neighborhood.

Monday, October 11
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
$75 Half-day walking tour

Larga Vida a Pilsen – Learn more about one of the hottest neighborhoods in Chicago

Originally inhabited largely by Czech immigrants in the late 19th centrury, Pilen transitioned into one of the primary latino communities of Chicago starting in the 1970’s. This community is known for its authenticity, strong cultural foundations and thriving food and nightlife, while grappling with growth & maintaining its roots. Join us for a bus & limited walking tour of the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago on the lower West Side of the city.

Monday, October 11
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour

Chicago River Architectural Boat Cruise with Mary Ludgin – Full Members Only

ULI Full Members are invited to join ULI Trustee and 35 year Chicago Architectural Foundation Docent, Mary Ludgin for the Chicago Architectural River Tour. Come learn the history and stories behind more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River, and hear how Chicago grew from a small settlement into one of the world’s largest cities in less than 100 years. Prior to the boat tour, spend an hour at the Chicago Architectural Center and learn about Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, housing types, leading architects and future projects, and see the largest scale model of the City.

Tuesday, October 12
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Free Half-day boat tour
– Full Members Only

Commerical Office: Pivoting in a Post-COVID Environment

The pandemic has fundamentally altered the way in which we will work for generations to come. How do our office buildings need to shift to accommodate this? Meet with two development teams who needed to pivot projects under construction in 2020 to better address that need. The tour will start with the nearly 700 foot tall BMO Tower, part of the larger redevelopment of Chicago’s Union Station, as we hear from the project developer, architect and tenant. The tour will next move to Fulton Market, and the smaller-scale developemnt of 215 North Peoria, where the developer will highligh specific changes they made during construction, mid-pandemic, to create a healthier office building.

Tuesday, October 12
1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
$100 Half-day bus tour