Sun Times: Lawrence Ave. Sears Parking Lot Project Derailed

By Mike Fourcher | Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A rendering of the proposed Ravenswood Station project. Credit: Brad Bretz.

The Chicago Sun Times reported this morning that the proposed Ravenswood Station development in the Sears parking lot at Ravenswood and Lawrence Ave., is “derailed” because Sears Holdings Corp. and Magellan Development Group LLC have not been able to agree on a sale price for the property.

The 80,000 square-foot project was slated to include a Mariano’s Fresh Market, a Sears Auto Center and a 600-car parking garage. It was roundly approved by residents in a community meeting held exactly a year ago.

The Sun Times quotes Sears spokesperson Kim Freely saying that Sears is, “still considering alternatives for the site,” but without further details.

Reached this morning, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), says his staff has been working to set up a meeting with Sears, and that he has no specific preferences for the site.

“I’m not a planner,” said Pawar. “Something needs to happen on Lawrence Avenue. There’s no doubt about that.”

As for allocating TIF funds for the site, Pawar pointed out that the Ravenswood Station project did not call for public funds, and that the TIF in the area is already committed to funding the Lawrence Ave. streetscape.

“There’s about $17 million [already] allocated from the Lawrence Avenue streetscape from the TIF,” said Pawar. “I wouldn’t look at any project in isolation. You have to look at them together.”

“The judgement we have to make with the public is if the net benefit [of using TIF funds] is larger than what we’d gain from diverting the funds from the schools,” said Pawar.

Pawar said he plans to talk with Sears and Metra about the new Lawrence Ave. stop, before making any decisions on the project.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1397464762 Ella Button

    He’s “not a planner”?!?! Well he’s the goddamn Alderman, he’d better come up with something. What a dumbass.

    • Anonymous

      It would have been better if he’d just made up some nice-sounding soundbites?  About trees and walk-ability and neighborhood amenities?  You prefer buzzwords to honesty?  Really?

      Do you want the Alderman designing the width of the sidewalk, and the preferred size/scale of buildings and stuff like that?  Really?

    • Anonymous

      Don’t you think your jumping the gun with a comment like that.   What’s it been – a week in office ?  And two sentences uttered about the subject to base your back-woods scathing comment on ?   What – did you go to the tea-party school of eloquence ?
      I want something done with Lawrence Avenue as much as everyone – but I know that I have to employ methods a little more refined than eighth grade barbs.  

      Obviously – you’re working your own angle here- whatever that is..

    • Anonymous

      I think what he meant was “I’m not a developer” and he’s right.  He’s not a developer.  His job is more to solicit plans from the business community and evaluate them.

      • Anonymous

        Just to be pedantic, I wager a beverage of winner’s choice that he indeed meant “planner”, as in urban planner, thinking about the whole of Lawrence within the Ward.  The tip off is the “Something needs to happen on Lawrence Avenue”, rather than “something need to happen on that parking lot”.  Whatever the precise phrasing of the question asked which solicited that response, Pawar was answering a question about the *overall* Lawrence Avenue issues.  And a comprehensive plan for Lawrence is a quintessential “planner” job.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a planner either, but there are numerous proposals that have already been submitted that could certainly be used as a starting point. How about putting your campaign where your mouth is and asking the citizens of your ward, especially those that live in that area, what they want instead of continuing the TIF to schools crusade. Isn’t that why we voted for Pawar to have a voice?

    How about talking to us before he makes a decision,we pay taxes he doesn’t.

    • Anonymous

      He hasn’t made any decision other than saying he’s talking to people about it.  So I’m confused about what you’re taking issue with, other than his admission that he doesn’t have a shovel ready plan for that part of Lawrence… which would be in direct contradiction to talking to the ward first.

      Also, the “doesn’t pay taxes” thing is incorrect and irrelevant to his decision making.  To the first part, he pays income taxes, sales taxes, and even if he’s not a homeowner, paying rent covers property taxes. In regard to the latter, if he does what you consider to be a bad job, work to vote him out next election. Hooray democracy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1359280873 Judy Raddue

    After re-reading the Sun-Times article, I’d argue that things have changed within the last year, and there may not be as great a need.  The Ravenswood Fitness Center has opened on Montrose off Damen, and the Lincoln Square Athletic Center is being built next to the Western El.  I can see an argument for the grocery store, but the last year has also seen the renovated Dominicks stores re-open on Foster (respectively, Lincoln and Sheridan).  All those things considered, I’d rather see TIF funds go to immediate neighborhood needs (schools/cops (esp. with increased gang activity)/parks/libraries) than to private enterprise.

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