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Committee OKs Zoning Change For Old Wicker Park Bank

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Chicago City Council Chambers (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The City Council Zoning Committee on Tuesday gave approval to a plan to bring retail to an old bank building in Wicker Park.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported Tuesday that the owners of the Midwest Bank building at 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave., are seeking the zoning change. The owners took over the two-story, 15,500 square foot building through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, and are now seeking retail tenants, Crain’s reported.

Currently, according to the Zoning Committee, the building is zoned for both retail and manufacturing. The proposed change would change the zoning just to retail.

A spokeswoman for the office of Ald. Danny Solis (25th) said the change was approved. It must now be approved by the full City Council.

The terra cotta building was completed in 1919 as the Noel State Bank building, according to the City of Chicago. It was later a Fairfield Savings Bank and most recently, Midwest Bank.

Also approved Tuesday was a proposal to downgrade the zoning for the boarded-up restaurant space at 2941 N. Clark St., on a bustling and vibrant stretch in the East Lakeview neighborhood. The space was formerly home to Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant and before that, Deni’s Den Greek restaurant.

A zoning change had been approved for a development in the space, but Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) proposed to downzone the storefront to its original zoning after the plan failed.

Not on the agenda Tuesday was another proposed zoning change affecting an area only about a block away. That proposed change has been a hot topic of contention, as it would affect the block where Wal-Mart wants to open a store.

That proposal calls for downzoning the west side of the 2800 block of North Broadway, and the west side of the 2800 block of North Clark Street, so that all new stores would be limited to 25,000 square feet.

The proposed Wal-Mart Market store in the Broadway at Surf retail complex, located on the affected stretch of Broadway, would occupy 31,000 square feet. It would take over two vacant storefronts previously occupied by a Wolf Camera and a PetSmart, and displace an existing Cost Plus World Market. Many neighbors have strongly resisted the plan, saying it could decimate small business in the area.

The property managers for the building have resisted the zoning change, saying it would limit their options in attracting future retailers.

So far, no action has been taken on the proposal.

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