As the Chicago City Council convenes today to vote on a new ordinance that would lift protected manufacturing zoning for the North Branch Industrial Corridor, a new image has surfaced providing a glimpse at what the future could hold for a key part of the riverfront land between Kinzie Street and Fullerton Avenue. First reported by DNAinfo’s Ted Cox, the conceptual drawing is likely part of a marketing brochure aimed at attracting commercial tenants to Sterling Bay’s 28-acre site formerly occupied by the A. Finkl & Sons Steel Company.
The image shows potential new commercial developments at the Finkl property as well as developer Sterling Bay’s other North Branch real estate holdings such as the adjacent Lakin tire recycling plant and a vacant parcel at 1509 W. Cortland Avenue. Other items of note include an open-air market, a new “multi-modal hub,” and an overhauled Clybourn Metra station. The developer’s under-construction headquarters for logistics company C.H. Robinson is also featured in the illustration.
As revealed by Sterling Bay Managing Director Andy Gloor back in September, the plan will include an eastward extension of the 606 bike and pedestrian trail. The rendering shows an elevated pathway threading its way between the Kennedy Expressway and the Metra tracks as well as the potential for a new tunnel below the commuter rail line. The scheme would utilize an existing freight bridge—a solution that Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) had previously advocated.
One of the largest and most prominent North Branch redevelopment sites, Finkl was vacated in 2014 before being purchased by Sterling Bay last year for $140 million. Combined with SB’s other real estate holdings in the immediate area, the former Finkl campus is ideally situated for the kind of mixed-use redevelopment that city planners are so keen to capture with the their zoning ordinance.
A Sterling Bay representative did not reply to a request for comment.