Photo by Dermot Connolly
Plans are underway to raze and redevelop a long-vacant trucking terminal at 10301 S. Harlem Ave. in Chicago Ridge, and a sign on the fence advertising a demolition company is one indication that the work is going to begin soon.
By Dermot Connolly
A developer’s plan to raze a dilapidated trucking terminal at 103 rd and Harlem Avenue in Chicago Ridge and build a mixed-use development on 10 acres of the long-vacant property cannot come soon enough for Mayor Chuck Tokar.
“ I think we have a deal,” said Tokar on Friday. “This is good news for Chicago Ridge.”
“ That dock and the building behind it are being demolished. Getting rid of that eyesore has been a number one priority and is finally coming to some resolution. I think it is for the best thing for the village. We will be redeveloping Harlem Avenue,” said Tokar.
The mayor said Glazier Corp., the same development company that built the new Starbucks just north of the property now owned by Crown Enterprises, plans to build retail strip on the property facing Harlem Avenue, as well as a warehouse distribution building behind it.
“ I can’t wait for the bulldozers to come in. I’ll be on top of one,” joked the mayor, noting that work has already begun to disconnect utilities on the vacant site in preparation for demolition.
Dan Abdo, a partner in Glazier Corp., cautioned on Monday that “we are only in the very preliminary stages” of the development plans, so he could not go into much detail.
“ It is going to be a collaborative effort. It is going to be good for the village,” said Abdo. “We’re envisioning bringing amenities closer to residents than where they are now.”
The 75-acre property originally owned by Yellow Freight property lies within a 105-acre TIF zone stretching along Harlem, the largest tract of land available for development in the village.
Crown Properties purchased the site in 2017 from Chippewa Transportation, expecting to be able to turn it into a trucking terminal again. However, the sale went through just after the Village Board had rezoned the property to prevent it from being used for trucking again. The village’s goal is to attract mixed-use development, with retail and entertainment.
But litigation held up any progress on development. Crown Properties had filed a lawsuit against the village, seeking a disconnection of the property from Chicago Ridge, and annexation to either Bridgeview or Palos Hills across the street, on the west side of Harlem Avenue.
Tokar said Crown Properties is dropping that lawsuit, in exchange for the village allowing this development to move ahead. A state law sponsored by state Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-18 th ) was passed in 2018 prohibiting land within a TIF district from being disconnected from a municipality.
“ It is really exciting to get that disconnection lawsuit behind us and move ahead with this,” said Tokar.
He noted that Glazier Corp. has a good reputation in the area. In addition to building the new Starbucks that opened last year at 10259 S. Harlem in the village, the company has also developed the Evergreen Marketplace, a retail mall at 2440 W. 95 th St. in Evergreen Park; Orland Commons at 15845 S. Harlem Ave. in Orland Park, and several retail and restaurant developments on Cicero Avenue in Crestwood.
He said Crown Enterprises also owns a site on Southwest Highway in Chicago Ridge, east of the TIF district, and Glazier has expressed interest in developing that as well, perhaps as a medical facility in what has become a medical corridor of the village.
But right now, the mayor is focused on the development on Harlem.
“ It is finally coming together. It has taken a lot of teamwork,” said Tokar.