Tribune Media – The River District
Moving stakeholders to approve plans for one of the most prestigious real estate parcels in Chicago’s central business district.

Tribune Media owned a prime piece of real estate just north of the Loop on the River, aptly named The River District. The 30-acre downtown campus can accommodate up to 8.5 million square feet of residential, retail and office buildings. The site is currently the home of its Freedom Center printing plant in River West. The megaproject stretches between Grand and Chicago avenues along the Chicago River. The parcel offers the opportunity to create a mixed-use neighborhood where Chicagoans will want to live, work and play.

In order to develop the campus, the land needed to move through an extensive approval process from the Chicago Plan Commission, Chicago Zoning Commission and Chicago City Council.

As part of the approval process, Tribune Media needed to engage with community groups to answer questions and build support for the project. It also needed to showcase the site to potential investors and buyers. This included several high profile opportunities in early spring 2018.

In addition to ongoing strategic counsel, Tribune Media required a portfolio of marketing materials for these high-profile and community presentations.

Strategy and Tactics:
Our strategic advisors ensured our client was proactively communicating with the city and community groups. We held numerous small meetings with community members to listen and address concerns.

At the same time, the client asked our creative team to develop a marketing campaign to elevate the profile of the property for potential buyers touring the site and repurpose the communications materials for public meetings.

The materials were designed to:

  • Define the River District as one of the most desirable properties within Chicago’s central business district
  • Inspire potential buyers with the opportunity to create one of the most transformative neighborhoods in Chicago
  • Create an up-scale, yet welcoming vision for the land parcel

Our work underscored the close proximity of the site to the central business district and all the benefits of the location: transportation, talent, restaurants, outdoor space and the Riverwalk.

Marketing Video: We wrote and produced an evocative video that spoke to Chicago’s architectural legacy and the vision for transforming the site into The River District.

Marketing Presentation: We created an exciting, informative presentation that included stunning renderings, powerful graphics and crucial details about The River District. A marketing brochure helped tell the River District story.
Outdoor Signage: We created an expansive approach to outdoor signage on the property, including an outdoor showroom (tent), to brand the location and catch the attention of guests – dressing up a vacant site that needed some sparkle at the end of a Chicago winter.
Boat Tour: In order to best experience the site, especially for out-of-towners, we hosted a boat tour that began on the site and then traveled south down the Chicago River. This way guests could see the close proximity first hand. Maps of the route were provided on the tour.

The original materials were repurposed and customized for each new client and community presentation, achieving high-quality impact each time.

In October 2018, The River District had received all the necessary Chicago Plan Commission and city council approvals.


  • Strategic Advisory
  • Government Relations
  • Community Outreach & Engagement
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Graphic Design & Video
  • Special Events



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