200 to 500 residential units suggested for Sears site; pedestrian bridge, boutique hotel also recommended
By BRIAN NADIG
The redevelopment of the former Sears site at Six Corners should include between 200 and 500 residential units, underground parking, outdoor areas for small concerts, a boutique hotel, a pedestrian bridge over Irving Park Road and an upscale bowling alley or a movie theater.
Those were among the top recommendations that more than 125 people made at the Nov. 14 community meeting hosted by Alderman John Arena (45th) and the Six Corners Association.
Arena said that the project’s developers, Tucker Development and Seritage Growth Properties, plan to use the recommendations to help guide the development but that market forces would ultimately decide the design of the project. There is no guarantee which suggestions would make the final plan, Arena said.
A concept plan for the project showed 556 apartments, a movie theater and a fitness club, but Arena said that the initial plan was for marketing the project to potential commercial tenants and that the planning process has just begun as far as he was concerned. Arena has called for the project to exceed the minimum affordable housing requirements, which call for 10 percent of the units to meet city affordable housing guidelines.
In addition, the Six Corners Master Plan recommends that the corner glass facade of the former Sears store to rehabbed and reused as part of a new development on the parcel.
Arena said that the Sears redevelopment represents an opportunity to revitalize the commercial district. He also said that he expects the Peoples Gas North Shop at 3955 N. Kilpatrick Ave. to become available for redevelopment in the next couple of years, as the company is relocating to an industrial site at Pulaski Road and Peterson Avenue.
“Some people have said nothing is happening at Six Corners,” Arena said. “Well, it’s the darkest before the dawn. Well, we have a great opportunity to see a new dawn.”
At the meeting, residents were asked to visit different tables and give input on the topic being discussed at that table. The topics included housing, density, business use, environmental and safety.
During one of the discussions, residents were split on whether the residential units should be condominiums or rentals, and there was no consensus on the number of units, with most of the recommendations ranging from 200 to 500.
One resident said that high-end amenities such as a swimming pool and a fitness center are needed to help attract young professionals, while another resident said that some of the rental units should be geared toward seniors and should be more affordable than the planned 10-story luxury senior living complex at 4747 W. Irving Park Road, where monthly rents are expected to start at $4,400. That complex would include a mix of independent and assisted living units.
In some of the other discussions, a resident said that the project should include retail tenants which provide “an experience” for patrons. She said that a business like Pinstripes, which has several Chicago area locations and offers bowling, bocce ball and dining, would be a good fit for the community.
Another suggestion called for a French-style market in which smaller, local businesses could lease space on a temporary basis. Others called for designated pathways which would lead shoppers to the nearby public transportation options and a mid-block crossing on Irving Park Road. Due to the heavy volume of traffic on Irving Park, a pedestrian bridge was suggested.
Other residents at the meeting said that the outdoor public places in the development should be designed for year-round use and include the installation of retractable canopies. One recommendation called for a “turf serpent” like the one children run on at the Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie.