Lawsuit on lumber site unsettled


An eminent domain lawsuit filed by the City of Chicago in 2013 to acquire the former Mayfair Lumber yard at 4825 W. Lawrence Ave. remains unsettled.

The city plans to relocate the Department of Water Management facility at 4900 W. Sunnyside Ave. and other city services to the six-acre lumber site. A sign shop for the city Department of Transportation has been considered for a portion of the site.

The city already owns an adjacent 63,000-square-foot parcel at 4808 W. Wilson Ave., where a portable restroom company was once located, and garbage trucks from the Mayfair Sanitation facility at 4639 N. Lamon Ave. are being parked there.

Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that it is not unusual for land acquisition negotiations to take a long time and that the city still plans to purchase the former lumber yard.
"It’s good to have protections in place anytime the government wants to have your property," he said.

The lumber yard, which was operated by members of the Koenen family for 82 years, closed in 2011.

The city and the property owner have not reached an agreement on the value of the land. The city plans to have appraisals of the property completed in mid-August, and the next court hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for December, said city Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey.

Relocating the water management operations to the former lumber yard would provide parking and traffic relief for residents who live near the Sunnyside facility, Brugh said.

The water management facility also includes a gas station which is used for city-owned vehicles, and it would remain there because it would be too expensive to relocate it, Brugh said. Some residents have said that they like having the city gas station in their neighborhood because it increases the number of police and fire vehicles traveling the area’s side streets, he said.