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A $10 billion development could take over the former site of a Chicago steel plant

Zach Long
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Zach Long

A new Metra stop, an extension of the 606 trail, public spaces and plenty of room for businesses and residences could soon take over the former site of the A. Finkl & Sons Steel plant between Lincoln Park and Bucktown. Developer Sterling Bay has unveiled a proposal for a mixed-use development in the decommissioned industrial area—it's calling the project Lincoln Yards.

Sterling Bay representatives have spoken about the potential of the Finkl Steel site since before the developer officially purchased the 22-acre property for more than $100 million in December 2016. In an interview with Crain's, Sterling Bay managing principal Andy Gloor unveiled his plans to extend the 606 east across Ashland Avenue and the Chicago River, connecting it to a new development. 

The timetable for the development has likely accelerated in light of the recent announcement that Amazon is searching for a North American city to host its second headquarters, which would be accompanied by up to 50,000 high-paying jobs. The Sun-Times reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has joined forces with frequent political adversary Governor Bruce Rauner in an attempt to woo the internet retailer to Chicago, working on a package of financial incentives that could make the city an even more attractive second home for the company. Naturally, Chicago would also need to provide some real estate options for Amazon and the Lincoln Yards development fits the bill, offering a central location with plenty of space for offices and residences.

In an interview with the Tribune, Gloor went one step further and explicitly stated that Sterling Bay is courting Amazon with the Lincoln Yards development, highlighting the bounty of tech industry talent in Chicago and the customizability of the Finkl Steel site property. Gloor also told the paper that redevelopment of the property would come with a price tag of $6 billion to $10 billion.

Even if Amazon doesn't bite and Sterling Bay is forced to find another tenant to serve as an anchor, the Lincoln Yards development is poised to be one of Chicago's most transformative redevelopment projects in recent memory, creating what would equate to a new neighborhood on the city's North Side. Whether the development becomes a Midwestern tech mecca or something else entirely, it's going to be a expensive and lengthy process to completion.

Courtesy Sterling Bay

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