The Chicago Transit Board today authorized the sale of the property located at the site of the CTA's former Limits Garage. The lot, located at 2684 North Clark Street, will be transferred to Limits LLC for the price of $14,350,000.
Limits LLC's proposed mixed-use project includes retail facilities and both low- and high-density residential housing.
CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "The development proposed by Limits LLC is based on the extensive discussions over a six-year period among the successive aldermen of the 43rd ward, representatives from the community, and CTA staff. The standards for development which we agreed upon ? and that the Limits LLC bid has pledged to adhere to ? are meant to insure that redevelopment of this site will enhance the surrounding neighborhood."
The result of those discussions ? a set of firm development criteria for the sale of this Lincoln Park property ? were incorporated by the CTA into a Request for Proposal (RFP) that publicly solicited redevelopment proposals for the Limits property that conformed to the community's interests.
43rd Ward Alderman Vi Daley said, "The residents of this ward were adamant about making this an inclusive process. Working with the CTA on this project allowed us to recommend density, height, and parking specifications that address the concerns and fit in with our community." She added, "The residents of the 43rd ward were full partners in determining the criteria of this process. As a result of our numerous negotiations with the CTA, the needs of the community have been addressed. Now that a developer has been selected that meets these criteria, I am confident that the community and I will continue to negotiate in order to address our neighborhood concerns."
Norman Wolfe, President of the Park West Community Association, said, "The Park West Community Association (PWCA) was pleased to be able to participate with the CTA and the Alderman's office over a period of years in the creation of development guidelines. That process allowed us to express the concerns of the community, and as a result, the residential and retail development that Limits LLC has proposed is consistent with those concerns." He added, "We are highly pleased that the CTA has honored all of its commitments to the community in its decision-making process."
The development criteria included building height restrictions with a limit to the number and density of residential units and a requirement that the majority of ground-floor space fronting Clark Street be reserved for active-use retail. Although the property is accessible to public transportation, adequate retail, resident and guest parking were to be provided as well. Additionally, the bid required a plan to remove the underground storage tanks that remain on the property and perform any necessary environmental cleanup.
The RFP also stated that the "CTA reserves the right to make an award based on the greatest benefit to the CTA and the community and not necessarily on the highest amount proposed to be paid to the CTA."
The RFP was released earlier this year. The seven bids received were reviewed for compliance to the publicly discussed development standards of the RFP. Bidders were given two opportunities to clarify details of their submissions in writing.
Limits LLC was the highest purchase price offer from the responses that complied with the RFP criteria. Limits LLC is a joint venture of Harlem-Irving Companies, LR Development Company, Enterprise Development Company, and Sunrise Living.
"This sale was a long, careful, and inclusive process. While the CTA benefits from the sale of a surplus property that had outlived its usefulness and has become an eyesore, the community also benefits with a practical and livable addition to their area," said Frank Kruesi.
Chicago Transit Board Member Sue Leonis said, "This is a case where a community and a public agency were able to work together on an issue, to the benefit of both. The CTA is getting a good price for this property and the proposed development is a good fit for the neighborhood."
The Limits property was declared surplus by the CTA in 1996 and its structure was demolished in 1998. Transit facilities have occupied the location since 1880, when horse-cars and then cable cars were housed there and the northernmost city "limits" were still at Fullerton. The most recent garage had been vacant since July 1994, when the CTA moved its bus operations and training functions to more modern facilities.
The sale is subject to Limits LLC's ability to gain approval for Planned Development by the Chicago City Council. Also, a "Letter of No Further Remediation" regarding environmental issues must be issued by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to the CTA.###