LOGAN SQUARE — The CTA is looking for developers to build a large project on the site next to the Logan Square Auditorium.
The agency recently issued a request for proposals for the CTA-owned site at 2525 N. Kedzie Blvd., which is currently occupied by a 94-year-old brick building with tenants City Lit Books and First Midwest Bank.
Located just 600 feet from the Logan Square Blue Line, the massive 43,154-square-foot site is considered an "excellent" transit-oriented development opportunity, CTA spokeswoman Irene Ferradaz said in an email.
"Due to the considerable size of the property, we anticipate that it will likely be utilized as a mixed-use retail/residential project," the spokeswoman wrote.
Decades before City Lit and First Midwest Bank moved in, the building served as one of the entrances for the Logan Square Blue Line.
Under the site's current zoning, developers could build a large residential or commercial project.
Development proposals are due Nov. 28. The CTA is expected to approve the development by February 2018.
Both City Lit Books and First Midwest Bank have leases through March 31, 2018, according to the CTA.
Transit-oriented developments are being proposed, and approved, increasingly in Chicago following the passage of an ordinance that provides incentives to construct housing near CTA and Metra rail stations. Such transit-oriented developments are allowed to have far fewer parking spaces than normally required of projects of their size.
The jury's still out on whether the policy is working.
City Lit Books is looking to stay in the building, according to owner Teresa Kirschbraun.
With help from real estate professionals, Kirschbraun has teamed up with First Midwest Bank to submit what she described as a "competitive" bid. The proposal would keep the building looking the same, she said.
"Most certainly, we will not propose building up," Kirschbraun said. "We're very conscious of being honorable to the neighborhood. I live on a Boulevard and I'm very aware of what the neighborhood would support."
Kirschbraun said of her proposal: "People are telling me that certainly a teardown could put the future of the store at risk. It doesn't seem likely that the land value would be greater than the existing building, which means my rent and the bank's [rent] could be greater than what a developer could offer them based on just the value of the land."
The shop owner said she also feels confident because the CTA isn't looking to sell the property. Rather, the agency is proposing to lease the property, meaning that a developer would fund a project on land owned by the CTA, according to Ferradaz.
Still, if the CTA goes with another proposal, Kirschbraun said she either hopes to reopen in the new building or find a new home elsewhere in Logan Square.
"We plan to be around. Certainly the best outcome would be that we stay here forever. But if we don't, if we find out in February [another proposal was chosen], we will find somewhere else. City Lit will survive all of this," she said.
Read the full "Request for Proposals" below: