Related Midwest Blog

Celebrating Black History Month and Honoring Chicago's Founder, Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable, With a New Public Park

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A source of pride for us with 400 Lake Shore, our newest residential development in Chicago, is our commitment to building the highly anticipated DuSable Park, a tribute that resonates more deeply during Black History Month.

Sitting on a 3.3-acre peninsula that lies directly across Lake Shore Drive, at the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, DuSable Park was officially established in 1987 by then-Mayor Harold Washington to honor Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the first non-native settler in Chicago. A Haitian of French and African descent, DuSable moved to Chicago in the late 1700s and established a trading post on the north bank of the Chicago River near what is now Pioneer Court. His entrepreneurial spirit and inclusive vision are widely credited with shaping Chicago into the vibrant city it is today.

For decades, this lakefront gem has remained undeveloped and inaccessible to the public. With Related Midwest’s development of 400 Lake Shore, we saw an opportunity to change that. We’ve proudly pledged a $10 million donation to the Chicago Park District to reimagine this underutilized space into a vibrant tribute to DuSable that will serve the city he founded for generations to come. 

While plans for the park are still being defined by the DuSable Park Design Alliance (DPDA), the organization charged with working alongside the city and residents to design the park, we’re fully committed to fulfilling their vision, which currently encompasses open green space, lush landscaping, a public plaza, seating areas and historical markers. 

Additionally, we’re greatly enhancing park accessibility with Founder’s Way, a fully programmed extension of the Chicago Riverwalk’s northern edge that will pass beneath Lake Shore Drive and link to both DuSable Park and the recently completed Navy Pier Flyover, making the space easily accessible by foot and bike.

DuSable Park is the latest addition to the many community amenities Related Midwest has created in conjunction with our residential developments. We opened Bennett Park, a 2-acre oasis in the heart of Streeterville that boasts a children’s playground, dog runs and gathering areas. Later that year, we delivered the first phase of Lathrop: a revitalized, mixed-income rental community along the Chicago River’s North Branch. In addition to a quarter-mile riverwalk, its public realm includes the sprawling 2-acre Great Lawn, as well as a new children’s playlot and dog park. 

The delivery of DuSable Park continues our commitment to creating vibrant, accessible and inclusive spaces that enrich the fabric of the community. We invite you to learn more about the park’s namesake, the DuSable Heritage Association, a local nonprofit that is committed to preserving the legacy of DuSable and has been instrumental in bringing this transformational project to life.