PORTAGE PARK — Bank of America is preparing to sell its huge branch in the heart of the Six Corners Shopping District, according to the office of Ald. John Arena (45th).
The 140,000-square-foot triangular property at the corner of Milwaukee and Cicero avenues and Irving Park Road is under contract to be sold and redeveloped, said Owen Brugh, Arena's chief of staff.
Diane Wagner, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, declined to discuss ongoing and incomplete real estate transactions and would not confirm the banking giant had a reached a deal to sell the 75,000-square-foot building at 4747 W. Irving Park Road and parking lot at 3928-52 N. Milwaukee Ave.
However, Bank of America plans to end its operations at its current location and move to a smaller branch at 4737 W. Irving Park Road in the fall, Wagner said. The new branch will open 30 days before the current one closes, Wagner said.
At a Feb. 13 meeting of the Six Corners Business Association, Arena said several large parcels at Six Corners "were turning over" as part of a years-long effort to revitalize the former retail district, which once drew nearly as many shoppers as the Loop.
"The conversations are happening," Arena said.
Any redevelopment of the site would include a provision to allow Bank of America to lease back a part of it for a smaller branch, Arena said, declining to reveal any more details about the redevelopment until the contract had been finalized.
The alderman is eager to have that parcel redeveloped in a way that fits the neighborhood and complements the existing redevelopment efforts on north Milwaukee Avenue, Brugh said.
Arena has said redevelopment efforts at Six Corners would be guided by a year-old master plan commissioned by the city that identifies this property as large enough for "significant new development."
The master plan recommends a four-to-five-story building on the site, to match the height of the Sears store across Irving Park Road and the Klee Building, which is diagonally across Cicero Avenue.
There should be 24,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of that building and between 50 and 75 residential units on the floors above, according to the master plan.
In addition, the development should include a 7,300-square-foot courtyard to allow a public gathering space as well new streets to chop up the massive city blocks into more walkable chunks.
The master plan also endorses efforts by Arena to turn Six Corners into an arts and culture mecca that would draw people from all over the city with the promise of a show and dinner.