Target Corporation is close to purchasing the former LaSalle Bank Building at 3201 N. Ashland Ave., a source close to the situation has told Roscoe View Journal. The property at Lincoln, Belmont and Ashland Aves., once planned as the mixed-use Lakeview Collection, has been in limbo and disrepair since Wachovia and Wells Fargo Banks foreclosed on the former Centrum Properties project in February 2010.
“They’ve visited the neighborhood twice to talk it through,” said the anonymous source.
“We have been in discussions about the property,” said Deputy Ald. Bennett Lawson (44th) told Roscoe View Journal this morning. “We get all kinds of feelers on various properties.” But, Lawson added, he expects there to be news on a buyer closing on the property within the next two months.
Lawson would not deny Target was the potential buyer.
The property has a number of entanglements, foremost being that St. Luke’s Church has a lien on the property from Centrum’s previous development plans. They were covenants agreed to by Centrum for Lakeview Collection’s planned development, which included creating a new playground on Melrose Street, providing 60 parking spaces for St. Luke’s and helping to pay the cost of moving utilities under Belmont Avenue as part of St. Luke’s senior housing development, Rennaissance St. Luke’s, at 1501 W. Belmont Ave.
The property also includes a historically significant “orange designation” art deco building at 3221 N. Ashland Ave. The orange designation does not necessarily stop demolition of the property, but it does require a 90-day demolition delay from the initially filing of a demolition application. It is not clear if preservationists will make saving the building a priority.
“Saving the building was never in the mix,” said Lawson. Although Ald. Tunney would push for saving the building’s facade, if demolition were under consideration.
According to the anonymous source, Target plans to sidestep Centrum’s previous need for neighborhood negotiations by building a store within existing zoning rights. The property is currently zoned as B1-3, which would allow a retail shopping store with a 3.0 floor-to-area ratio, essentially up to three stories high, if the whole property were to be built out.