Uptown residents share ideas to develop CTA land straddling new Wilson station

Uptown residents in May developed some ideas on what to do with land that will be freed upon both sides of the CTA tracks after the Wilson station and track rehab project is complete.

Map shows where new land ripe for development would be after the Wilson station rehab.

Map shows where new land ripe for development would be after the Wilson station rehab.

A rectangular parcel of about 5,500 square feet would sit directly east of the new station’s main entrance with 30 feet of frontage on the south side of West Wilson Avenue. And another 32,600 square foot long, rectangular strip of land would sit on the other side of the entrance with 60 feet of Wilson frontage, just east of Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave., according to DNAinfo Chicago.

Residents suggested seven ideas, including a building with a brewery, bowling and bar. Some of those ideas include:

  • A $7.4 million proposal envisions a two-floor retail complex anchored by a brewery, bowling alley and a bar.

  • A proposal to build a $38 million twin-tower development. It would include a nine-story office building facing Wilson — with space devoted to job training programs and 5,280 square feet of ground level retail — and a 15-story apartment building behind it with about 80 rental units, 20 percent of them designated affordable.

  • A mixed-use development with a makers’ space and farmers market as focal points of nearly 16,000 square feet of ground-level retail, with nearly 37,000 square feet of housing above. The units would be a blend of row homes and two and four bedroom apartments, 20 percent for condo buyers and the rest for renters. Affordable housing would comprise 60 percent of the 25 units.

  • A $20.3 million plan that includes 10,500 square feet of retail space on Wilson Avenue on both sides of the main station entrance; lots of green space between Truman and the west side of the station; a three building apartment complex with half its 66 units for affordable housing and 21,100 square feet of non-profit spread across the lower levels; and 20 parking spaces.

CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinki said workshop results would be “provided to the future developer as part of the planning process.” CTA intends to retain ownership of the properties, will most likely seek a long-term lessee to partner with, and intends to budget the development separately from the $203 million station plan, according to Hosinki.

See the Metropolitan Planning Council website for more details and drawings of the ideas.

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  • Why wouldn't CTA just hold the parcel of land adjacent to what will be a future Red-Purple transfer station? The same agency is spending $320M to buyout property 3 stops south to mitigate congestion at Belmont. Developing the only Red North parcel that could actually house a bit of pocket track allowing for turning around trains to run higher frequency service downtown in exchange for ever more restaurants and retail seems shortsighted. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to think that narrow parcel of land could be used for a transit purpose in the not too distant future, as it was used in the past.

  • In reply to josephm:

    That assumes that CTA wants to go back to 1907 and turning trains at the end of the line at Wilson.

    My observation is that unlike Archer barn, where there is really a developer, here a meeting is for pie in the sky when a developer has not been identified. Heck, I could propose another Trump Tower, but Trump isn't building.

  • In reply to josephm:

    CTA is retaining ownership of the properties. As Jack notes, CTA is not involved in these meetings, so not sure the likelihood of anything happening.

    I do hope they put the clock back at the old main entrance. It's not in the renderings, but you can see it in old pictures.

  • In reply to chris:

    On the likelihood of anything happening, I went back to the linked MPC site and looked at the pdfs. Staff, architects, and IIT students worked over the proposals, but concluded in most cases that they were not feasible without subsidies. The question usually raised was whether there was enough affordable housing to obtain subsidies.

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