While development booms are sprouting up across the North Side, particularly up and down Milwaukee Avenue and on Goose Island, it's starting to look like the 28 acres beneath the shuttered A. Finkl & Sons site in Lincoln Park, the legendary steel mill set for demolition in the next few months, may become the next North Side real estate frontier. While the sprawling site is currently zoned as a planned manufacturing district (PMD) — and local nonprofit North Branch Works is fighting to keep it that way — recent suggestions, including expanding the Bloomingdale Trail across the Chicago River towards Racine Avenue, would only raise the stakes, which some have estimated are roughly $100 million.
The highly ambitious 606 extension idea, proposed at a recent meeting hosted by North Branch Works, would further develop the elevated pedestrian and bike trail, connecting it with the river and adding incredible value to one of the only Near North Side areas that hasn't been aggressively developed (just look at the price spike occurring to properties near the 606). It's one of a long line of suggestions, including the creation of a high-tech campus, brewery and residential high-rises, for the site. A 606 extension would also make commuting much easier and quicker for West and Northwest Side residents who will be working at the new high tech office spaces on Goose Island.
Changing the industrial nature of the area would require aldermanic and zoning board approval however. The site was the city's first PMD, a designation developed to give protection to industrial sites falling prey to residential and commercial development. In addition, the area will need to be scrubbed of the contaminants collected during its industrial past, which will be quite costly to say the least. However, the value and potential suggest the fate of the Finkl site is far from decided.
·Extend the 606/Bloomingdale Trail to Connect to East Riverbank and Cortland [Civic Artworks]
·What will take the place of Finkl steel mill? [Crain's]
·Bloomingdale Trail Expansion Over the Chicago River Idea Floated [DNAinfo]
·Previous 606 coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Finkl Steel coverage [Curbed Chicago]