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Suspected Soil Contamination Puts South Works Housing Redevelopment Plan In Limbo But Not Dead

Chicago Land
U.S. Steel's South Works site

WeLink Group affiliate Emerald Living said it remains committed to bringing a massive housing development to U.S. Steel's South Works site after reports surfaced that the plan is in jeopardy due to soil contamination. In a statement to Crain's Chicago Business, Emerald Living said it still intends to bring up to 20,000 modular homes to the site's 430 acres.

Emerald Living's partner in the project, Barcelona Housing Systems, announced last week the project was on hold due to soil contamination issues. U.S. Steel, which tried to redevelop the site several times over the past 25 years, said the soil was already cleaned with the guidance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Complicating matters, BHS claims it has not had an active role in the project for months, and Emerald Living received a five-month extension of its due diligence process after contaminants were found. That extension expires in mid-May.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted the project as a game-changer on the Southeast Side. In addition to the modular housing, the plans called for a factory to be built to manufacture modular housing parts.