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State Looks To Sell Off Abandoned Riverside Industrial Site

A building best known as a backdrop for the 2014 Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction is staring down a transformation of its own as the state seeks to sell the abandoned industrial site better known as Damen Silos.

Damen Silos

The state will accept bids this fall for the Silos — a space that has become a financial burden despite its unique combination of size and transit connectivity along the south branch of the Chicago River.

“The sale of this surplus property will generate significant economic opportunities in Chicago’s Lower West Side and McKinley Park communities while also saving the State the cost of annual operating expenses,” Anthony Pascente, acting director of the state’s Central Management Services, said in a prepared statement according to the Chicago Tribune

The building would be suitable for a data center, telecom facility, cannabis business or industrial complex, officials said.

This isn't the first time the state has tried to dispose of the 23.4-acre property at 2900 South Damen Ave. The state attempted to auction it off in 2014, but a potential deal was canceled due to concerns about the cost of asbestos removal, demolition and the building of a sea wall, Colliers International Executive Vice President Mike Senner told the Tribune.

This time around, he said, demand for the property, which will remain in “as-is” condition, should be better due to the market’s shrinking industrial supply. 

After recently letting go of the iconic James R. Thompson Center following a purchase agreement with Google, the state is seeking to sell Damen Silos as part of a portfolio of properties too outdated and expensive to maintain.

“When complete, this sale will represent another step forward for that promise as well as bring significant economic development to Chicago’s Lower West Side,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a release.

The building, once operated by the Illinois Department of Transportation to mix road construction materials, was transferred to the state’s Central Management Services for disposal in 2005 after officials declared it useless. 

Initial bids for Damen Silos, which must be a minimum of $3.25M, are due by Oct. 19.