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Plans for Massive Six Corners Shopping Center Set to be Unveiled

By Heather Cherone | February 12, 2016 5:49am
 The black-roofed building to the left would be turned into a massive shopping center with a rooftop parking lot under plans set to be unveiled Wednesday.
The black-roofed building to the left would be turned into a massive shopping center with a rooftop parking lot under plans set to be unveiled Wednesday.
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Clark Street Development

PORTAGE PARK — Plans to transform the vacant Bank of America branch at the heart of the Six Corners Shopping District into a massive shopping center with a rooftop parking lot will be unveiled at a community meeting set for Wednesday, officials said.

The meeting, hosted by Ald. John Arena (45th), is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The 100,000-square-foot shopping center at 4747 W. Irving Park Road would feature "a mix of large retailers and smaller tenants," Arena said.

Renderings released in October by Clark Street Development included a space big enough for a grocery store in the glass-enclosed shopping center. Those plans are no longer featured on the firm's website marketing the property.

Peter Eisenberg, a principal with Clark Street, did not return a phone message Thursday. Renderings of the proposed project are not yet available, said Owen Brugh, Arena's chief of staff.

The one-story development, which is not asking for any money from the Portage Park Tax Increment Financing District, requires a zoning change because of the size of the site and the developer's desire to build more shops and offer a "wider range of uses," than the current rules allow, Brugh said.

The alderman would need to OK any zoning change for the all-commercial development. Arena has said the project would be an "exciting addition to Six Corners," which has been in the midst of a rebirth with nearly two dozen shops and restaurants opening recently, Brugh said.

In addition to a 270-spot parking lot, the shopping center's roof would feature a covered pedestrian walkway to allow shoppers to cut across the triangular property at the heart of Six Corners, Brugh said.

The company paid more than $10 million in June 2014 for the four-acre triangular property at the corner of Milwaukee and Cicero avenues and Irving Park Road as well as a one-acre parking lot in the 3900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.

Work has begun to demolish the former Bank of America building, with scaffolding installed earlier this week.

Clark Street has agreed to incorporate "historic" elements from the bank into the shopping center, Brugh said. Other parts of the once-ornate building have been salvaged by the Northwest Chicago Historical Society and will be reused, he added.

The Bank of America branch closed in December 2014 and a smaller branch opened just east of the six-point intersection through which 70,000 cars flow every day, according to city traffic data.

The site was identified in a 2012 city-crafted master plan as one of the keys to restoring Six Corners to a measure of its former glory, when it was the busiest shopping district outside the Loop.

The master plan recommended a four- or five-story building on the site, to match the height of the Sears store across Irving Park 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 area as well as new streets to chop the massive city blocks into more walkable chunks, according to the master plan.

The project will not include condominiums or apartments or any new streets. But a plaza will be built at the six-corner intersection and the sidewalks might be extended in places to create permanent People Spots in order to provide outdoor cafe seating, Brugh said.

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