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City advances plans for old Sears site in Galewood

Eddie Lampert-backed venture has proposed rental housing, retail space and plenty of parking.

Rendering of a retail and commercial development planned at the site of closed Sears store at North and Harlem avenues.
A rendering of a retail and commercial development planned at the site of closed Sears store at North and Harlem avenues.
Tucker Development

An investment group that includes former Sears Holdings Chairman Eddie Lampert won key city backing Thursday to redevelop the retailer’s shuttered store at North and Harlem avenues.

The Chicago Plan Commission approved proposals to add to the old Sears building, converting it to residences over ground-floor retail space, and to provide housing and parking around it.

The commission’s vote sends the issues to the City Council for final adoption.

Lampert’s Seritage Growth Properties, which he spun off from Sears to control its real estate, is leading the deal with Tucker Development.

With an estimated investment of $117 million, the team plans to build 313 residential units on the northeast corner of North and Harlem and an adjacent site at 7141 W. Wabansia Ave. that had provided parking for the old store.

A rendering of homes proposed for 7141 W. Wabansia Ave.
A rendering of homes proposed for 7141 W. Wabansia Ave.
Tucker Development

The properties are just inside the city limits, where Chicago’s Galewood neighborhood abuts Elmwood Park, Oak Park and River Forest. The developers have submitted a design that has a suburban feeling, with a heavy allotment of parking. The planned 641 spaces, most of them on surface lots, would serve the residents and the newly constructed stores.

Richard Klawiter, zoning attorney for the projects, said the residences will all be rentals. For the Wabansia parcel, 27 units will have a townhouse design.

Klawiter and Tucker Development declined comment on a projected construction date and other issues.

Chicago officials said the developers will provide an estimated $1.2 million to the city’s affordable housing fund to support construction elsewhere. On the actual sites, the developers have committed to eight affordable homes that would carry below-market rents.

On the Elmwood Park side of the same intersection, the Seritage-Tucker team also has won official approval to build on a former Sears Automotive location. The property at 1630 N. Harlem would get 152 apartments, about 18,000 square feet of retail space and another 237 parking spaces.