A valuable parcel in the heart of Wicker Park’s burgeoning Division Street corridor could perhaps one day become the focus of future proposal. This week, DNAinfo’s Wicker Park reporter Alisa Hauser revealed that the longtime tenant, a family which operates a Shell gas station and store, will be closing their business at the end of October due to an enormous hike in rent from $9,000 to $25,000 per month. While the closure of a gas station may not seem like big news, other details point to a possible redevelopment in the future. According to DNAinfo, the property is owned by developer Paul Utigard, a builder who has worked with former Intelligentsia co-CEO Rob Buono on a handful of other high-profile high-rise projects in the area.
Buono and Utigard are the developers behind the transit-oriented development nearby at 1611 W. Division and the 216-unit apartment tower development near the California Blue Line station in Logan Square. In addition, Buono proposed a 12-story, 32-unit upscale condo development also along Division Street last year. The architects at Wheeler Kearns have been behind the designs of all projects proposed and built by Buono and Utigard in recent years.
Interestingly enough, Gaspar Gomez, the owner of the Gomez Shell service station on Division Street tells DNAinfo that the property owner plans a new development for the site. Gomez hints at apartments and retail space for restaurants. Such a proposal for the site doesn’t seem surprising when considering the recent work of Utigard and Buono and the location in the center of Division Street’s burgeoning retail corridor.
But will the remediation of a site which has long been used as a gas station prevent a new residential development at the location? There’s certainly going to be some costs involved in cleaning up the site, but it may not be enough to prevent a new development of the gas station. Regardless of what is planned, First Ward Alderman Joe Moreno tells DNAinfo that any proposal for the site will be required to go through a “thorough review by the community.”
What will we see at this site? Will it eventually sprout a new mixed-user or can we expect to see it remain as a gas station and service center?