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Old November 19th, 2006, 06:36 AM   #141
i_am_hydrogen
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Even though I don't care much for the architecture (and, admittedly, it's grown on me a little bit), I still totally want this project to go forward. I walked all the way over to the site today to get a better look. Things seem to be advancing nicely. This will bring a welcome breath of fresh air to a stretch of Halsted that has kind of a dead feeling to it. Here are a few photos of the site I took today, which technically isn't in Lincoln Park.









Sorry, I left the aperture too wide and ended up with a blurred background. But you get the idea.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 08:05 PM   #142
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A. Finkl & Sons buys Verson Steel's South Side site
Does this mean expansion or relocation from longtime Lincoln Park home?

(Crain's) — A. Finkl & Sons Co. has acquired the former Verson Steel property on Chicago's South Side, fueling talk that the metal-forging firm could leave its longtime home on the western edge of Lincoln Park.

A Finkl affiliate in June paid $2.4 million for the property at 1355 E. 93rd St., according to property records.

Yet it's unclear whether the acquisition of the 508,000-square-foot property is part of an expansion plan or a relocation plan.

Bruce Liimatainen, Finkl's chairman, did not return phone calls for comment, and Alderman Vi Daley (43rd), whose ward includes the Finkl complex, was unaware of Finkl's plans.

With a sprawling complex along Cortland Avenue just west of Clybourn Avenue, Finkl has been a fixture in the neighborhood, holding firm amid encroaching residential and retail development. The firm's factory sits in a planned-manufacturing district, or PMD, where non-industrial uses are prohibited.

Founded as a blacksmith shop in 1879, Finkl moved to its current location in 1902 and became a prominent symbol of the PMD movement in the late 1980s, as residential and retail development inched closer. After much debate, Finkl became part of the Clybourn Corridor PMD, the city's first such district, in 1988.

Verson was a unit of Chicago-based Allied Products, a designer and maker of metal forming presses. Allied Products went out of business after filing for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in 2000. Most of the assets of its Verson division were sold the following year.

The Verson property sits in a tax-increment financing district, meaning Finkl could be eligible for city subsidies to redevelop the property.



We don't talk much about industrial development around here (especially in the Lincoln Park discussion board) so it should be interesting to see any opinions on this story or anything involving the Clybourn Industrial Corridor.

I know this is speculation right now, but if Finkl decides to relocate, what do you think this would mean for the Clybourn Industrial Corridor. Finkl is a cornerstone for this corridor especially north of Goose Island. Will commercial develpment start expand to the river or will the industrial zoning hold?

Personally, I commend Finkl for their efforts to make the complex as pedestrian friendly as possible. They did a nice job with lighting and landscaping along Cortland. I don't know if any of you have walked by there, but there are also interesting facts about Finkl and the steel industry posted along the sidewalk. It's almost like going to a steel museum. It's amazing to stop and peek into one of the doors or windows and get to watch the process happen in front of your eyes. The workers are very friendly. It doesn't make you feel uncomfortable to walk through that area of Cortland; they just blend in with the neighborhood.

It will be interesting to see what does happen with this complex if Finkl decides to relocate to the south side, industrial or commercial.

Last edited by creil; December 8th, 2006 at 09:26 PM.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 09:25 PM   #143
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Finkl to be acquired, close North Side plant

(Crain’s) — After agreeing to be bought by a German steel company, A. Finkl & Sons Co. is shutting down its factory on the western edge of Lincoln Park, its home since 1902.

Finkl, a steelmaker that employs 350 people in the complex, plans to relocate either to the former Verson Steel property on Chicago’s South Side, which it acquired in June, or a site in Quebec that it recently agreed to buy, says Finkl Chairman Bruce Liimatainen.

The company has run out of space at its current location, just west of Clybourn and Cortland avenues, and can’t get enough power to meet its needs, he says.

Finkl’s ambitious growth plans are tied to its announcement Thursday that it is being acquired by Schmolz+Bickenbach A.G., a Dusseldorf-based steel company with $4.7 billion in revenue and 10,000 employees. Both companies make steel that manufacturers and tool-and-die makers use to produce factory tools, and the combined company will be the largest tool steel producer in the world, Mr. Liimatainen says.

The acquisition will “bring a lot of tonnage to the new facility when it’s built,” he says. It gets “us into a worldwide distribution network that (Schmolz+Bickenbach) already have in place.”

Finkl’s acquisition of the 44-acre Verson Steel site in June had fueled speculation that the company was planning to move from its current complex, which sits on an industrial peninsula surrounded by an ocean of residential and retail development.


That's a huge piece of property along the North Branch and Clybourn. Wonder what will happen?
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Old December 8th, 2006, 11:26 PM   #144
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^Wow, I can't believe this is happening. I can't begin to imagine the development possibilities. That's a prime piece of land straddling Lincoln Park and the Chicago River. I hope we don't end up with some mega-development like the Roosevelt Collection. I'd like to see a bunch of different projects.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 11:47 PM   #145
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I've noticed that the Friends of Bloomingdale Trail have posted the Finkl story on their new website. I'm sure there is going to be alot of interest in incorporating some of this property into the new park. The trail's plan calls for an ending at the Chicago River using a section of the old pivot rail bridge as a pier. If that bridge can still operate, it could easily connect the Bloomingdale trail to Lincoln Park now that the Finkl property is for sale. Wonder if the city is thinking this way. I know that Daly would like a riverside park the distance of the North Branch.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 02:28 AM   #146
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I know that the chances of getting a football team for Depaul are next to nothing (referring to the "What would it take to get a new college football team" thread), but the Finkl site would be a great location for a Depaul athletic complex.
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Old December 10th, 2006, 02:00 AM   #147
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Here's the Finkl property. The boundries aren't exact, but you get the idea. Easy access to the Kennedy, Metra, Brown Line, Red Line and future Circle Line.

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Old December 10th, 2006, 06:53 AM   #148
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Just keep in mind that the Finkl property is in a Planned Manufacturing District. That, by design, makes substantially more difficult any rezoning and use for residential or commercial.
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Old December 10th, 2006, 07:07 AM   #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Just keep in mind that the Finkl property is in a Planned Manufacturing District. That, by design, makes substantially more difficult any rezoning and use for residential or commercial.
Difficult, yes. Impossible, no. I've walked past that site many times (via Cortland), and it's not the type of complex that readily lends itself to being replaced by another tenant/owner. Unlike a residential property, where one owner can easily succeed another owner by simply moving in, industrial properties are often built to meet the unique specifications of the particular type of activity that will take place there. In addition, having industrial areas so close to downtown and upscale neighborhoods is anachronistic, a vestige of a bygone era in this city. That area, along with the River North Industrial Corridor just to the south, is an outgrowth of the past industrialization of the river. But with the decline of industry, it seems increasingly appropriate to put it to use for residential purposes. And I believe our municipal leadership will see the wisdom in doing so.
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Old December 10th, 2006, 05:50 PM   #150
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Quote:
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with the decline of industry, it seems increasingly appropriate to put it to use for residential purposes. And I believe our municipal leadership will see the wisdom in doing so.
You must be reading different tea leaves (and newspapers) than I am. No one gets elected or reelected by promising to bring more residents and more traffic. But they do get cheers (from some folks) for promising to keep jobs in Chicago. So they declare PMDs even though there's no industrial demand, and we get Goose Island full of warehouse facilities with two dozen jobs for 150,000 square feet. Look at what just happened with the Cooper Lamp factory. Or Wicklander Printing on South State, a two-block PMD island in the residential South Loop.

At least for the near term, I think you can count on political rhetoric about retaining good-paying industrial jobs in Chicago and an expensive--and ultimately pointless--effort to abate and redevelop the Finkl site for "industrial" use.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 01:25 AM   #151
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
You must be reading different tea leaves (and newspapers) than I am. No one gets elected or reelected by promising to bring more residents and more traffic. But they do get cheers (from some folks) for promising to keep jobs in Chicago. So they declare PMDs even though there's no industrial demand, and we get Goose Island full of warehouse facilities with two dozen jobs for 150,000 square feet. Look at what just happened with the Cooper Lamp factory. Or Wicklander Printing on South State, a two-block PMD island in the residential South Loop.

At least for the near term, I think you can count on political rhetoric about retaining good-paying industrial jobs in Chicago and an expensive--and ultimately pointless--effort to abate and redevelop the Finkl site for "industrial" use.
Keeping the jobs in Chicago won't be an issue. There are enterprise zones and TIF land in the West Pullman and Chicago Harbor areas that have plenty of room for high-tech and blue collar manufacturing jobs. Property is cheaper and you are putting manufacturing jobs closer to blue-collar neighborhoods. I think the problem you'll find in replacing Finkl with another industry is the size and value of the land. Finkl moved to the south side because they had no room to expand and they weren't able to get the power to the plant that they needed. Any industry that is big and rich enough to take over that space will have those same problems to deal with. If you break up the property into smaller pieces, then you have to find small industry that is willing to pony up for the land and rebuild on it. If I own a manufacturing company and I want to be in Chicago, wouldn't the south side be more appealing?
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Old December 11th, 2006, 01:28 AM   #152
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Commercial developers have been moving in on the North River Industrial Corridor for over a decade; Home Depot, Sams, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. The location of this land makes it a logical next step.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 03:19 AM   #153
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But logic and demand have nothing to do with it. The mayor and the aldermen want to say they are "preserving good-paying jobs in Chicago." That's why Finkl got PMD No. 1 and why the city gave them money for the streetscaping, vacated Southport, etc., etc.

When Home Depot took the old DuPont site it was under the fiction that it was a retail-industrial use, with industrial to be built in a future phase. Look at all the money lavished on Goose Island to very little effect, as the buildings ended up being low-job density distribution centers. Permits had actually been issued for residential conversion of the building on Halsted that's now Kendall College before the mayor's office pulled them back and got Sara Lee to make it a technical center. Surely you don't think the Cooper lamp factory is being turned into a "green center" because there's such high demand from green industries. It's being done so the alderman can say he kept jobs in the ward.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 09:48 PM   #154
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Finkl sits on the only peice of land on the N. Branch Industrial Cor. that is in the 43rd Ward. How many blue-collar workers do you think there are in Lincoln Park? If anything, the aldermen would probably get a better political reaction if this property went commercial. The lamp factory sits in the 1st ward where there is still a sizeable population of blue collar workers. I understand your point, but I don't see any political disadvantage by letting this go non-industrial.

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Old December 12th, 2006, 05:24 AM   #155
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Demo is officially starting on the old Columbus Hospital. Protective scaffolding pedestrian tunnels have been erected around the site and there is a sign hanging from a fence for Omega Demolition.

Last edited by i_am_hydrogen; December 12th, 2006 at 06:33 AM.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 08:35 AM   #156
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Fight brewing over fate of Finkl site
Can prime Lincoln Park spot remain industrial after steelmaker goes?

A brawl is brewing over the future of steelmaker A. Finkl & Sons Co.'s longtime Lincoln Park home — and over one of Mayor Richard M. Daley's favorite tools to preserve manufacturing in the city.

Mayor Daley has been a major proponent of planned manufacturing districts, or PMDs, which prohibit residential development and restrict retail in industrial sectors. The city has created nine in the last three years, bringing the total to 14 encompassing more than 10,000 acres, or roughly 7% of the city.

Finkl's departure plans are certain to spark a fight over whether to preserve the site for industrial use or sell it to developers, who covet its location adjacent to some of the city's prime retail and residential addresses.

Finkl Chairman Bruce Liimatainen says the firm has always gotten calls from developers. But those calls have come on a daily basis since the company announced Dec. 7 that it is being sold to a German competitor and is planning to move to either the South Side or Quebec, where it can more than double the size of its Lincoln Park facility.

Unless PMD status is removed from the site, however, it will be off-limits to all but industrial developers.

The mayor says he favors preserving the Clybourn Corridor PMD, established in 1988 as the city's first, although he says he'll keep an "open mind."

Any attempt at residential or retail development "is going to upset the apple cart because the city is going to resist," says 36th Ward Alderman William J. P. Banks, chairman of the city's zoning committee.

Mr. Liimatainen says the company and its new owner will "look at every and all options" for the site, which could probably fetch three to four times as much from a residential or retail developer as from an industrial user, says Michael Senner, senior vice-president with Chicago real estate brokerage Colliers Bennett & Kahnweiler Inc.

PMD critics say preserving desirable tracts for factories deprives the city of millions in tax revenue.

Defenders of PMDs have argued that the districts keep high-paying manufacturing jobs in the city. But in the Clybourn Corridor, total employment fell 11% to 2,347 between 1988 and 2004, according to a November 2005 study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Economic Development. Manufacturing jobs fell to 336 from 1,146, according to the study.
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 11:10 PM   #157
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http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/n...=n&searchType=

Clybourn Ave.'s PMD corridor leads nowhere
Jan. 02, 2007


Looking a gift horse in the mouth, always impolite, can be unwise as well.

But that's what the city may do with the A. Finkl & Sons Co. site, a plum development opportunity on the western edge of Lincoln Park. Finkl is moving after 104 years at the location just off Clybourn Avenue, a bustling corridor of new homes, stores and restaurants.

Finkl's move will make 22 acres available for redevelopment in one of Chicago's hottest neighborhoods.

Developers are calling Finkl every day to express interest in turning the old steel plant into new homes. As Eddie Baeb reported in Crain's on Dec. 18, Finkl could sell the property to a residential developer tomorrow for three to four times the price an industrial user would pay. By modern standards, the plant is small and offers little room for expansion.

Market forces, therefore, seem to indicate that the plant would be sold for residential and/or retail redevelopment.

But it's not that simple. The Finkl plant sits in a planned manufacturing district (PMD), one of several the city has created over the past two decades in an effort to stem the loss of manufacturing jobs. You can't build houses in a PMD. Without a waiver, that means Finkl can't sell its property to any of the residential developers itching to pay top dollar.

It's not just Finkl that stands to lose if Mayor Richard M. Daley insists on preserving the site for industrial use. The city itself will be walking away from all the spending, vitality and, yes, property taxes that new residents would bring to the area.

Clinging to an outdated industrial vision of the Clybourn Corridor underscores the silliness of the entire PMD system. Advocates tout PMDs as a way to keep high-paying manufacturing jobs in the city. They seem unaware that the term "high-paying manufacturing job" has become an oxymoron as factory work migrates to low-wage offshore locales. A recent study shows that the number of manufacturing jobs in the Clybourn Corridor fell to 336 from 1,146 between 1988 and 2004.

PMD backers ignore that thousands of high-paying jobs are being created in the offices of downtown and environs. Those workers need housing convenient to their jobs — areas like the Clybourn Corridor.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 01:10 AM   #158
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Another image of Lincoln Park 2520
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Old February 17th, 2007, 09:38 PM   #159
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http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=23915

North-Clybourn retail spreading south
Development shifts south along Clybourn; traffic's coming next


The North-Clybourn retail mecca is spreading south.

A host of development firms is planning to build more than a half-million square feet of retail space on a swath of largely industrial land skirting the Chicago River from North Avenue south to Division Street.

In the process, they'll transform the Clybourn Avenue corridor running from Division Street all the way north to Webster Avenue into a shopping district comparable in square footage to mid-sized enclosed malls like Northbrook Court or Westfield Fox Valley. The new retail development south of North Avenue will also add to the traffic that has clogged the North-Clybourn shopping corridor.

"There is a buying and developing frenzy taking place," says Burt Friedman, president of acquisitions for Belgravia Group Ltd., which bought a 2.3-acre parcel at 1401 N. Kingsbury St. in the fall and is now planning a two-level, 135,000-square-foot retail complex there.

Developers recently acquired two other former industrial sites in the area, and a 3.5-acre vacant tract near Kingsbury and Division streets is for sale. Separately, plans are to be unveiled next month for the massive New City YMCA site at Clybourn Avenue and Halsted Street that is to include condos, restaurants, a Roundy's Supermarkets Inc. grocery store and apparel boutiques.

The new developments are being driven by the availability of large lots, the demolition of the nearby Cabrini-Green housing development and the success of retailers already there, such as Crate & Barrel, Home Depot and Best Buy. Retail experts estimate that shops in the corridor are ringing up about $400 in sales per square foot, a figure that rivals the best regional malls and, in the Chicago area, is second only to North Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile.

Still, some question whether there will be enough demand for the new space being contemplated south toward Division Street — especially at a time when many retailers are tempering expansion plans as the economy cools. Some also wonder whether traffic could hinder further growth.

"Right now, there's a lot of traffic and the retailers are doing well," says Bruce Kaplan, president of Chicago's Northern Realty Group Ltd., a retail brokerage. "If you add several hundred thousand square feet of space to the mix, will traffic get oversaturated? There is a point at which the traffic will become so congested that customers will begin to shy away."

The redevelopment of the 8.2-acre New City Y site will bring about 350,000 square feet of shopping space to the district. Structured Development LLC agreed to acquire the site last summer for close to $54 million; Structured also owns a property across Halsted Street, where it is building a new home for the British School of Chicago that's also to include doctors' offices and about 90,000 square feet of retail.

Structured last week went farther south, buying 2.5 acres at 1317 N. Clybourn Ave. for $14.4 million from White Way Sign, which is now renting its building on a monthly basis from Structured while the sign maker, founded in 1916, looks for a new location. A White Way executive didn't return calls.

Daniel Lukas, a principal with Chicago-based Structured, says his firm will probably do another residential-retail development at the site after White Way moves.

"It's a natural progression for continued retail and residential in the area," Mr. Lukas says. "In five years, it's going to be a whole new neighborhood."

Mr. Lukas points to Whole Foods, which is moving south on Kingsbury Street into a space more than double the size of its current North Avenue store.

"I think that validates for national retailers that the trend is south," Mr. Lukas says.

The largest current retail vacancy in the North-Clybourn area also may soon be filled: Grossinger Auto Group is in talks to lease the former Home Depot Expo Design Center site at 1500 N. Dayton St., according to sources familiar with the matter.

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Old February 18th, 2007, 10:33 AM   #160
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Does anyone know what is going in across the river from Home Depot and just next to Circuit City and Sams Wine and Spirits? There is construction going on. The road from North Ave to Kingsbury has been reconstructed, but I don't know what the development plan is.
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