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.