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Proposal Calls For Ambitious Multi-Vendor Market Near Logan Square CTA

By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 28, 2016 8:28PM


There’s no doubt that the underused surface parking lot immediately adjacent to the Logan Square CTA stop holds great potential for transformation. But what exactly should be done with it is the subject of some very different proposals.

As one group lobbies hard to use the parcel for (potentially 100 percent) affordable housing, a new proposal from the 34-Ten Architecture firm has emerged, putting aside housing altogether—affordable or otherwise—and calling an ambitious all-weather open-air market.

The multi-vendor space “is designed with intent of using shipping containers” for its construction, Josh Hutchison, founding principal architect of 34-Ten, told Chicagoist. A spiritual predecessor cited by Hutchison is the Boxpark shopping center in the Shoreditch district of London.

The so-called Logan Market, which is still in the conceptual stages, would be geared toward smaller retailers—“folks in the community who want to take the risk to start a business” but might have leasing concerns, Huthcison said. The site could also possibly function as a year-round home for the Logan Square Farmers Market, which current operates outdoors on Logan Boulevard during the warmer months, then goes inside for winter at 2755 N. Milwaukee Ave.

From a purely practical sense, the proposal—which was first reported by DNA Info—is not too dissimilar from the in-demolition Mega Mall, Hutchison agrees. “If that’s disappearing, then there’s a vacuum and a maybe need for something similar, “ he said stressing that the site’s proximity to public transportation would make the market a “citywide draw.”

As for the charge to sell the space for affordable housing development, Hutchison says he acknowledges that there’s always a need for affordable housing, but adds, “I just don’t think it belongs on public land.”

“Once you start slicing off pieces of the public domain it leaves a really sour taste in people’s mouth… People are frustrated with that on a variety of scales, whether it’s a sports stadium or housing development,” he added. Hutchison said he’d like to see Logan Market kept a public venture.

The affordable-housing proposal appears to have significant political support. (The group pushing for it is chaired by 35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.) But Hutchison thinks previous meetings were heavily favored toward the Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation at the expense of other potential options.