Food preparation plant being converted to storage facility




by BRIAN NADIG

A former food preparation plant that the Archdiocese of Chicago operated at Northwest Highway and Milwaukee Avenue is being converted into a storage facility.

The city Department of Buildings issued a permit to LSC Development for the interior demolition of the three-story, 67,868-square-foot complex in December. The permit calls for the removal of fixtures and non-load-bearing partitions.

A second permit for the site, which is at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy., is pending. It calls for the creation of storage space.

LSC Development states on its Web site that the company specializes in converting industrial properties into self-storage and office uses. It owns and maintains about 700,000 square feet of industrial and office space in Chicago, Harwood Heights, Elgin, Barrington, Elgin and Libertyville, according to the Web site.

The property is zoned M1-1 for manufacturing uses, but on March 16, Alderman John Arena (45th) introduced an ordinance that calls for several industrial sites at 5140-90 N. Northwest Hwy. to be rezoned to B1-1, which is the least intensive zoning classification for business uses. B1-1 does not allow self-storage facilities and warehouses.

Several properties on the block have been for sale or lease in recent year, and Arena is seeking the rezoning to ensure that any new development project on the block is appropriate for the area. LSC Development reportedly acquired the former archdiocese plant last fall.

The pending permit to build the storage space will be reviewed based on the site’s existing M1-1 zoning, a spokesman for the city Department of Planning and Development said.

However, it is not clear if the city would issue a business license for a new warehouse operation, including a self-storage facility, if the property is rezoned to B1-1 before the facility opens. The site is in the city-designated Northwest Highway Industrial Corridor, which contains many warehouse and storage businesses.

There are no pending license applications for the site, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said.

Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said last week that the alderman’s office was not aware of the storage project and that the developer had not contacted the alderman’s office. Brugh said that a new warehouse operation may not be the best use for the site and that Arena wants residents to have the opportunity to comment on the redevelopment of the block. "That’s the very reason we’re proposing to rezone the block, because of this type of thing," he said.

A representative of LSC Development could not be reached for comment.

Meals were prepared on the site and delivered to Catholic schools for about 30 years. The archdiocese now uses a third-party provider to prepare meals for its students.

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