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Industrial scrapyard near Lincoln Yards is finally for sale—and developers want in

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Neighbors want the 20-acre site to be a park

Chicago’s North Branch
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects

A 21.5-acre industrial scrapyard, that is currently home to General Iron, is finally on the market, according to the Chicago Tribune. The site is right next to $6 billion megadevelopment Lincoln Yards and many people want the riverfront area turned into a sprawling park.

In July, General Iron announced its plans to sell and move its headquarters to the Southeast Side by 2020. On Thursday, the company announced that three parcels would be for sale along the Chicago River between Cortland and Blackhawk streets. There’s no price tag, but based on other sales in the area, it could be north of $100 million, the newspaper said.

With the approval of Lincoln Yards zoning changes and a massive $1.3 billion in tax-increment financing district, it might be easier for a developer to get similar changes. And, it wouldn’t be unexpected if developer Sterling Bay was interested in the land so close to their megadevelopment project.

However, more development like Lincoln Yards could receive a lot of pushback from the area’s aldermen who released a plan for a sprawling park back in March. Aldermen Michele Smith, Scott Waguespack, and Brian Hopkins, along with residents and the North Branch Park Preserve coalition, argue that a riverfront park is a necessity with such densely populated neighborhoods nearby and billion dollar towers on the way. Plus, funding for what is estimated to cost $200 million may be hard to come by.

The General Iron site is also located along a right-of-way where city planners envision a new transitway between downtown and Lincoln Yards. So, former mayor Rahm Emanuel wasn’t on board with a park preserve. However, based on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s criticism of Lincoln Yards, she might show more support.