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Sizable Lake Street Parcel Continues Quest for Love

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Curbed's wandering eye has a new guiding rubric to partner with: let's call it Please Build Here. Basically, it gives us an excuse to ogle vacant land and dream. For each neglected property, we'll tussle with some development ideas, crowning the most plausible or, short of that, our favorite.

This dreary site at Lake & Leavitt came on market in June of 2010. The price on has dropped 11% to $500K. It'd be great to see some development, but we may have to settle for ragtag soccer matches for a while still. The site's limitations are twofold: Its zoning (Kinzie Corridor Planned Manufacturing District) and unwieldy size. At 18,600 sf and almost perfectly square, it's best suited for a boxy manufacturing building. Kiss goodbye your benevolent yearnings for a supermarket— it's not on the list of permitted or special uses. Things that are: auto laundries; gas stations; heavy manufacturing; recycling stations; printing facilities; schools, catering companies; offices; junk yards, and greenhouses.

Jobs are good and all, but we can't help favoring the greenhouse. Another onerous restriction on industrial build-out would be, by our estimation, the less-than-300 ft. distance to a residential district— the huge subdivision south of the tracks. If our eyeballed measurement stands, that would mean any industrial equipment and vehicles would have to be enclosed in a building and any outdoor storage would need an 8-foot wall to hide behind.

Encouraging news for the seller and the district as a whole: a similar parcel is under contract down the block at Lake & Hoyne. It's a bit smaller and cheaper, but still. Anyone still dreaming of residential needs a reality check. The site hugs the 'L', the nearest station is too far away to be meaningful, and your immediate neighbors are warehouses and other vacant lots. So, without further adieu, Mr. Industrial Developer, Please Build Here.
·Listing: 2154 W Lake St. [Koenig & Strey]
·Zoning Summary [West Town Business Complex]