62acressouthprairieThe last large undeveloped swath of green space in downtown Chicago could finally be developed into a robust neighborhood linking the South Loop and Chinatown, thanks to a deal signed this week.

Related Midwest has taken part ownership of 62 acres southwest of Clark Street and Roosevelt Road, and will be the lead developer of a multibillion-dollar joint venture that promises to reshape Chicago’s skyline and fill what has been described as a “hole in the center of Chicago.”

The scale of the project, which could include thousands of homes, millions of square feet of office space and stores, is staggering. Though the site is currently a wilderness inaccessible by road and unserved by sewers or other city services, satellite images reveal it to be trumped only by Grant Park as an expanse of open downtown land.

It comes with a checkered history: Once owned by disgraced and convicted power broker Tony Rezko, it was sold in 2007 to Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holding. GMH is owned by Iraqi-born British businessman Nadhmi Auchi, who was convicted in 2003 in France in a corruption scandal. GMH will be a partner with Related Midwest in the joint venture.