Wilson Station Development Ideas Include Brewery, Row Homes, Offices

By Adeshina Emmanuel on June 4, 2014 8:38am 

Slideshow
 The Wilson Red Line Station's $203 million reboot could free up land prime for a transit-oriented development near the new station's main entrance.
Wilson Red Line Transit Oriented Development Proposals
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UPTOWN — The Wilson Red Line station's $203 million reboot could free up prime land for a transit-oriented development near the station's main entrance.

Realigning tracks as part of the Chicago Transit Authority rebuild, slated to start this fall, will leave nearly 40,000 square feet of space split between two rectangular parcels alongside both sides of the renovated platforms, according to CTA plans.

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. About 32,600 would sit on the other side of the entrance with 60 feet of Wilson frontage, just east of Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.

Uptown residents in May produced seven ideas for what to do with the land during a series of community workshops organized by the Metropolitan Planning Council with support from Ald. James Cappleman (46th).

Here are a few ideas from the three MPC sessions:

  • 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.

Click the slideshow for sketches of proposals, renderings of the Wilson Red Line rehab and pictures of the current station. For the Metropolitan Planning Council's complete list of proposals, and critiques of each idea with financial analysis, click here.

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.

There's no exact date for when the project starts. Hosinki said it would be when the three-year Wilson makeover is "well underway or closer to completion."

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