CITY HALL — The Plan Commission on Thursday approved the redevelopment of the old Marshall Field's warehouse on Diversey Avenue, with the local alderman imagining it as "a major anchor" on the Northwest Side.
Ald. Ray Suarez (31st), a member of the Plan Commission, recused himself from voting because he had actively taken part in advancing the project at 4000 W. Diversey Ave.
"If I could vote," Suarez said, "I would vote for this."
Suarez called it an "exciting project on the Northwest Side," adding that the anticipated addition of a supermarket as a ground-floor tenant would make it a "major anchor" for the area.
The six-story building at Pulaski Road and Diversey Avenue, with its distinctive red and white horizontal and vertical stripes, has been vacant for years since being abandoned by Macy's, which acquired it in its Field's takeover in 2005. It was originally an Olson Rug factory.
"It's a really neat building, and it's actually very beautiful," said project architect Howard Hirsch. The building's sturdy construction and high ceilings would make it attractive in a mixture of commercial and residential use, said Hirsch.
Commissioner Andrew Mooney, who also heads the city's Department of Planning and Development, said Suarez was to be "richly commended" for holding out for a project that would retain a strong commercial component.
"I think it's a model of how good government works," Mooney said, adding that the project shows "great respect for the architectural heritage."
Department staffer Fernando Espinoza argued the redevelopment called for "appropriate rezoning," in that it reflects the commercial purposes of the Pulaski Industrial Corridor, as well as the residential areas immediately surrounding it.
Called the Fields, the development is a project of 4K Diversey Partners LLC which reportedly bought the 21-acre campus earlier this year for $10 million.
Developers have not yet pinned down a "full-service grocery store" to serve as the main tenant, but estimate that the project will produce 1,150 jobs overall.
The project moves forward to seek additional City Council approval before the Zoning Committee.
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