WEST LOOP — The city's plan to landmark dozens of buildings within the Fulton Market district should focus more on development along Randolph Street and less on Lake Street, a West Loop business group says.
Unveiled earlier this month, the city's current plan would grant historic designation to 75 buildings along Fulton Market and Randolph and Lake streets, stretching from the Kennedy Expressway west to Racine Avenue.
The proposal also recommends virtually eliminating residential development along Fulton Market from Halsted Street to Ogden Avenue, but pushes large-scale business and residential zoning (with the potential for 15-story buildings) along the new Morgan Street "L" stop, from Halsted to Racine.
But according to the West Central Association — which represents businesses in the West Loop — the planned high-density zoning along Lake Street is unnecessary. The potential for tall buildings and more development would be better suited to the same stretch along Randolph instead.
In an letter sent April 8 to Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), the group asked that the city's proposal be modified to "de-emphasize Lake Street, which is best used as a service street to support more development along Fulton and Randolph streets."
"The idea to put tall buildings on [Lake Street] doesn’t make the most sense," said Armando Chacon, West Central Association's president. "My concern is, that if we’re not careful and don’t do the right things for Randolph Street, it may not bloom and develop the way we want it to."
Currently, the city's land use plan would maintain the same zoning that already exists along that section of Randolph Street that allows only for low-rise buildings a few stories tall.
A high-density zoning recommendation along Randolph Street could also potentially greenlight more developments like Nobu, the boutique hotel and restaurant waiting to begin construction at 846 W. Randolph St.
The association also recommends the city reconsider its manufacturing designation for a stretch of land running north and east of Ogden, south of Hubbard and West of Halsted to a more tech-friendly office zoning.
"The plan should acknowledge the true character of this area, the lack of demand for industrial land, and eliminate the manufacturing zoning that is artificially suppressing job growth and economic development," the letter states.
According to Peter Strazzabosco, deputy commissioner for the city's Department of Planning and Development, the city focused the high-density zoning area around Lake Street due to the street's proximity to the Morgan Street "L" station.
Strazzabosco stressed that the city's plan is not final and is still "subject to revisions based on input from residents, businesses, property owners and other community stakeholders."
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