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4 Reasons Not To Ignore McKinley Park


McKinley Park on the Southwest Side has been a working-class neighborhood throughout its existence. But a population boom over the past 20 years and higher property values now have it in the sights of developers seeking opportunities away from crowded North Side submarkets. Here are four factors spurring activity in McKinley Park.

1. The Orange Line Is An Untapped TOD Driver

CTA's 35th/Archer Orange Line 'L' station offers unique residential and retail TOD opportunities.

The Orange Line 'L' has the ability to spur transit-oriented development similar to how the Blue Line 'L' helped Milwaukee Avenue become Chicago's busiest TOD corridor.

The Orange Line runs parallel to Archer Avenue from Chinatown to Western Avenue, provides access to downtown from Midway Airport and has stations serving McKinley Park at Ashland Avenue and 35th Street/Archer Avenue. The 35th/Archer station is near the heart of McKinley Park, with an abundance of vacant lots that have caught the eyes of smaller developers seeking TOD opportunities. One developer attempted to capitalize on the early TOD wave with a proposed 39-unit micro-apartment project in 2016, but the development received no community support. 

Now, McKinley Park could be of interest with developers seeking new TOD opportunities, unencumbered by the tighter affordable housing requirements in the Emanuel administration's affordable housing pilot program along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor.

2. Expressway Access

Interstate 55

The Stevenson expressway is part of Interstate 55, which is one of Chicago's strongest-performing industrial submarkets and connects downtown Chicago to Joliet. The Stevenson intersects Garfield RidgeBridgeport and McKinley Park, and all three neighborhoods have seen activity in infill industrial, logistics, cold storage and data centers.

3. Budding Retail

Archer Station, Chicago

Smaller retail developments have found success in McKinley Park. Regency Centers' Riverside Square & River's Edge, a 169K SF shopping center at 3145 South Ashland, is anchored by a Mariano's Fresh Market, Party City and a Dollar Tree. Last April, the Boulder Group sold Archer Station, a fully leased strip center at 2620-2640 West Pershing Road, for $25M. Archer Station's anchor tenant, LA Fitness, is locked into a lease that expires in February 2031.

4. The Stockyards PMD

Urban Growers Collective operates an indoor farm in this former warehouse within the Stockyards PMD.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's willingness to relax zoning restrictions in planned manufacturing districts is spurring developer interest in the North Branch Industrial Corridor. That could carry over into other districts like the Stockyards PMD, which is already benefiting from adaptive reuse of meatpacking plants and warehouses into indoor vertical farms.

Avgeris and Associates has been seeking a retail anchor for 23 acres it owns at 3535 South Ashland. Relaxed zoning in the Stockyards PMD would open up the site to more development options.