Navy Pier, the highly commercial tourist attraction jutting into Lake Michigan, will take on a more parklike feel under the first phase of redevelopment plans formally announced Friday.
Due to cost constraints, the initial $176 million remake does not include some of the more dramatic elements floated by the design team, such a swimming pool with a sand beach.
But it includes an array of upgrades aimed at making the state’s most visited tourist attraction a place where visitors can splash in an interactive fountain that transforms to a skating rink in winter, stroll along a heavily planted promenade and rest on an undulating stairway with unobstructed views of the lake and skyline.
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The grand stairway will face south, “inviting people to sit and face the sun and look out,” said landscape architect James Corner, who leads the design team selected in an international competition last year.