Plan proposed for Bank of America Site
by BRIAN NADIG
A retail redevelopment that would lack the residential uses recommended in a master plan for the Six Corners commercial district is being eyed for the recently sold Bank of America site, 4747 W. Irving Park Road.
Chicago-based Clark Street Development recently acquired the property for a reported $10 million. The nearly 4-acre site includes the bank and an underutilized parking lot in the 3900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.
A master plan that the Six Corners Association created in 2013 calls for the property to include a four- or five-story building with 24,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, 50 to 75 residential units on the upper floors and an underground parking garage. The plan also calls for a large outdoor plaza in the rear.
"There is no residential planned," Clark Street principal Peter Eisenberg said. "Our plans are for a retail development. We feel the area is very underserved with retail."
Eisenberg said that the large scale of the project would serve as a catalyst for filling some of the smaller vacant storefronts in the area. The master plan calls for high residential density near the commercial district in order to create a larger customer base for stores in the district.
The Six Corners shopping district has a "pedestrian street" zoning designation that requires buildings to be constructed within 5 feet of the sidewalk, parking to be in the rear of buildings and storefronts to be built with large windows. The designation also prohibits new drive-through facilities and new curb cuts.
Due to the size of the site, a zoning change in the form of a planned development ordinance likely would be required for the project, Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Own Brugh said. Planned developments create customized zoning for a property, and exceptions to the pedestrian rules could be sought.
Eisenberg said that while various design options are being explored for the project, the company would not have purchased the property unless it believed the site could be developed under the existing conditions.
Arena has been a strong proponent of pedestrian street development since his days as vice president of the Portage Park Neighborhood Association when he opposed plans for a bank drive-through facility and a new curb cut in the district. Arena recently introduced an ordinance that would bring the "pedestrian street" designation to portions of the Jefferson Park commercial district at Milwaukee and Lawrence avenues.
The designation is an important tool in maintaining a traditional urban feel in neighborhood shopping districts, Brugh said. Arena is looking forward to working with Clark Street to create a project that will be in character with the community, he said.
Plans call for the bank on the site to be demolished and replaced with a smaller branch.
Clark Street operates more than 30 million square feet of retail, industrial and office properties and has acquired more than 50,000 acres of land since the company was formed in 2006.