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Something Brewing at Chicago and Ashland?

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For sale: 1620 W Chicago Ave.

Only a few days have passed since Curbed reported on altered development plans for Division and Ashland and already neighborhood watchdog, the East Village Association, is back to raising questions about a nearby site, at Chicago and Ashland. There has long been interest in how to commercially develop the stretch of Chicago Ave running west from Ashland, whose buildings in many ways mirror the historically landmarked stretch of Milwaukee between Ashland and Damen. No similar protections exist for the ornate early 20th century structures that define the streetscape. The EVA and preservationists are somewhat concerned about what this means for the handful of properties for sale directly across from the old GoldBlatt Building on the north side of Chicago Ave. There's a listing for 1620 W Chicago, that shows a rendered loft conversion, more as an invitation to develop than an actual plan. But there's a real danger that something else will get built, something architecturally unkind or tailored to the needs of big retailers.

If the sale of parcels were lumped together, says the EVA, the stage would be set for tax-incentives targeting a single big developer instead of several small ones. The city digs that sort of thing. For a few years now, the EVA has been batting around correspondence with Ald. Manuel Flores and his successor Ald. Proco Joe Moreno to seek assurances that the intersection won't get stripmalled (Ashland is zoned for that sort of thing) and definitive statements have yet to emerge. Let's all keep our ears to the ground on this one.
· What's next for Chicago and Ashland? [East Village Association]
· 1620 W Chicago Ave. [Zillow]