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Navy Pier Aims For $155M Facelift, Children's Museum To Stay

Navy Pier

First Posted: 06/30/11 05:35 PM ET Updated: 08/30/11 06:12 AM ET

The new non-profit organization grabbing the reins of Navy Pier as of July 1 on Thursday unveiled their plans for a $155-million facelift to the facility.

The plan, according to Crain's Chicago Business, proposes the expansion of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the addition of a boutique hotel and improved retail and restaurant options as well as doubling the size of the Chicago Children's Museum, once controversially green-lighted for a move to Grant Park.

Beginning Friday, the facility's new manager, Navy Pier Inc., will launch an international competition recruiting the team of architects and designers who will turn the plan into a reality.

The plan, titled the "Centennial Vision," specifically looks to expand the pier's nighttime and non-summer attractions, in order to bring in more visitors. Navy Pier is reportedly the Midwest's most visited tourist attraction, attracting an estimated 8.7 million visitors each year -- 6 million of those during the summer months.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the pier's now-former managing entity more commonly referred to as McPier, would provide some $50 million of the seed cash for the facility's revamp. The rest would come from fundraising and selling naming rights to various public spaces within the pier.

An official at Navy Pier also commented that the remodeled facility will not play host to the casino that is rumored to be planned for downtown Chicago, WBEZ reported.

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Filed by Joseph Erbentraut  |