Update 3/22/17 – The Chicago Plan Commission unanimously approved the rezoning of a 1.54-acre parcel on Northwest Highway to allow LSC Development to move forward with its multi-story self-storage facility. Under the lawsuit settlement, Arena and zoning administrator Patricia Scuderio agreed to support the zoning change to enable the storage project and eventually a residential development, according to the source. Construction on the storage facility is expected to begin this spring.
The plan for the site remains controversial, with about 100 people registering to speak against the project during the March 16 meeting. A petition with 3,000 signatures in opposition was also presented to the commission. About 25 people registered to speak in favor of the plan, including representatives from the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association and several community groups, the source reported.
Some residents said a 70-foot-tall self-storage structure wouldn’t fit in with the surrounding community, while others claimed there are too many storage facilities operating in the area. Some also believe changing the zoning to a dense community-shopping district sets a bad precedent for future development, according to the source.
Arena told the commission the project was in line with recently rewritten city code to encourage development near transit centers. The property is near the Jefferson Park Transit Center, which will receive a $25 million renovation in the next five years, the source reported.
The residential component to the overall plan wasn’t included in the commission vote. The development ordinance will be worded to prohibit any construction on the south end of the property and will have to be amended to allow the housing project, city officials said during the meeting. Such an amendment will require another round of public hearings.
2/16/17 – LSC Development LLC appears poised to move forward with building a self-storage facility in Chicago after settling a lawsuit it filed against the city. The suit was filed after the city cancelled LSC’s construction permit just one day after issue. LSC intends to build a five-story facility at 5150 N. Northwest Highway, where a seven-story mixed-use development is also planned, according to the source.
LSC filed suit against the city last April after buildings commissioner Judy Frydland voided its construction permit at the urging of alderman John Arena. Though LSC obtained the permit in accordance with the property’s M1-1 zoning, Arena later had it changed to B1-1, which doesn’t allow self-storage, the source reported.
Under the developer’s original plans, the self-storage facility would have been converted from a former Archdiocese of Chicago food-processing plant and taken up the entire building site. Arena reportedly wanted to halt the project because it didn’t include any residential component, according to the source.
Though details of the agreement haven’t been released, LSC is now expected to build the storage facility on the northern half of the parcel and later sell the southern half to a residential developer, the source reported. Last month, LSC filed a zoning application to allow for self-storage and an unspecified residential development. The new plan calls for a 100-unit apartment complex. The old food-processing plant will be demolished.
The new mixed-use plan for the site is expected to generate much higher tax revenue for the city, according to Arena. “The agreement will increase the property-tax revenue for the space from a projected $135,000 a year from adapted reuse [of the existing building] to an estimated half a million annually from the combined storage, retail and residential. More than half will go to our schools,” he told the source. “We are pleased with this outcome, which is a much better deal for the taxpayers and local residents than what was initially proposed.”
In its lawsuit, LSC indicated it was blindsided by the zoning change and alleged it was never notified by the city before officials filed the rezoning ordinance. LSC challenged the voiding of its construction permit and sought damages.
Cook County, Ill., Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall dismissed the lawsuit earlier this month after the city and developer settled out of court. LSC will have up to one year to reinstate the case if there’s a violation to the agreement, the source reported.
Based in Barrington, Ill., LSC specializes in industrial parks, office complexes and self-storage facilities. It also owns and leases nearly 700,000 square feet of industrial and office space in Aurora, Barrington, Chicago, Elgin, Harwood Heights and Libertyville, Ill., according to the company website.