Joseph Panfil of Aberdeen Development explains details of their rehab project at the Wednesday, January 16, meeting of the McKinley Park Development Council.

Development Poised to Boom on Pershing Road in McKinley Park

Published January 18, 2019

Multiple developments with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars are currently underway or lined up as likely prospects for major structures of the Central Manufacturing District in Chicago's McKinley Park neighborhood, according to information provided at the Wednesday, January 16, meeting of the McKinley Park Development Council. A standing-room-only crowd packed a meeting room at the McKinley Park field house for a presentation on active rehabilitation of the former cold storage warehouse at Pershing Road and Damen Avenue, as well as updates on two other major prospective development projects on Pershing Road.

"We want to become part of the fabric of the area," said Aberdeen Development Inc.'s Joseph Panfil, who spoke on his company's currently active rehabilitation of 2055-2133 W. Pershing Road, comprising multiple lots and two buildings, including the cold storage warehouse. "We're going to create a community," he said.

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At the meeting, Panfil detailed his company's plans for site architecture, construction methods, historic rehabilitation concerns, likely use and the state of the properties as they found them. In particular, Panfil noted how the cold storage warehouse had turned into a rotting shell due to decades of water damage seeping throughout the sandwich of cork and bricks comprising the building's thick outer walls. Both the bricks and the structural supports holding everything together had deteriorated to the point where little was salvageable and everything was dangerous, Panfil said. So far, they've invested over $15 million into the project, he said.

Nolan Zaroff McKinley Park Development Council Meeting 20190116Nolan Zaroff of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development shares an update with the meeting audience about the Pershing Road site in C40's Reinventing Cities competition. Aberdeen's current plans call for rebuilding the facade while retaining and reintegrating as many of the original historic details of the property as possible. Terraces will be set back into the building's outer walls, providing views of the park while retaining the "street wall" effect on Pershing Road. Panfil said that high-quality construction methods will be used throughout the build-out, executed by his team and based on their experience as an early major developer in the now-booming Fulton Market district.

Panfil said one of the most noticeable elements of the warehouse's rehabilitation will be one or more restaurants sited in the first floor of the building, and he noted that likely tenants are on the cusp of signing up. Higher floors will provide office space, with parking accommodations for 180 cars indoors and 80 to 90 cars in the back of the property. Roof decks will provide a "spectacular" view of downtown, he said.

The Aberdeen development also includes the mostly vacant lot between the cold storage warehouse, the National Latino Education Institute at 2011 W. Pershing Road and the new MAT Asphalt plant sited about a block south of the intersection of Pershing and Damen. Advocacy from audience members ensued after Panfil spoke of Aberdeen's intent to demolish the two-story building on this property, and Panfil noted they were open to considering its retention. He also displayed a rendering for prospective plans to construct a building on this property to conceal the presence of the asphalt plant, the rollout of which caused Aberdeen to initially "pump the brakes" on their development of adjacent properties, Panfil said.

The target timeline for development of the cold storage warehouse is to have the building's skeleton fully complete by early 2020, with the first tenants potentially coming in as early as spring of this year, Panfil said. He noted they also own the formerly active Central Manufacturing District building on the northeast corner of Damen Avenue and Pershing Road, and that this building will eventually be rehabbed, too.

Parkview Lofts and Parkview Commerce

Also at the development council meeting,12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas and staffers from the 12th Ward office shared a "project narrative" for a prospective major development to rehabilitate and re-use the huge Central Manufacturing District warehouses at 2139 W. Pershing Road and 2159 W. Pershing Road. According to the document, Code Real Estate Partners intends to redevelop the properties in two phases into mixed-use residential and commercial spaces with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars for each property.

The concept for the 2159 W. Pershing Road building is titled "Parkview Lofts" and would consist of approximately 119 apartment lofts for rent: a mix of one- and two-bedroom units marketed toward singles and young families with a smaller number of children. The narrative stated the units will be designed with a modern, open, loft-style concept that retains historic building elements. Planned building amenities include indoor parking for 60 cars, community and event spaces, a game room, exercise facilities and a staffed, on-site management office.

Phase II of the project is titled "Parkview Commerce," a redevelopment of 2139 W. Pershing Road into a mixed-use building combining commercial, office and residential spaces. The rear of this building is a two-story space especially well-suited for a small shipping company or manufacturer, with its high ceilings and an open floor plan. As proposed, the lower floors of the front of the building would contain around 80,000 square feet of commercial office space, and the top three floors would offer 36 two- and three-bedroom apartments at market rates.

1900 W Pershing Road townhomes rendering brochureA rendering from a realty brochure displays the design of the townhomes currently under construction on the 1900 block of West Pershing Road, another new development on Pershing.The commercial and residential elements of Parkview Commerce would be kept separate, with different entrances, the narrative stated. A private, landscaped courtyard between the two buildings will be shared by residents from both. "The overall building will lend itself well to a live-work environment," the narrative said of Parkview Commerce.

At the meeting, Cardenas described this project as being in its planning stages.

C40 Reinventing Cities

Another major prospective development along Pershing Road is the overhaul of the City of Chicago-owned buildings entered into C40's Reinventing Cities design contest, which looks to promote the rehabilitation of the properties from 1717 W. Pershing Road through 1819 W. Pershing Road. Nolan Zaroff of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development attended the development council meeting to share the latest updates: The chosen design teams are working on their proposals, which are due by the end of February, Zaroff said.

Picking the winners is anticipated for this May, which would then result in a finalized development plan that will hopefully lead to rejuvenation of these currently underused properties. "The focus is on sustainable development," Zaroff said.

These large current and prospective developments on Pershing Road are occurring alongside many other neighborhood development projects on and near Pershing. For example, one of the most recent is the four-bedroom townhomes currently under construction on the 1900 block of West Pershing Road, a formerly vacant lot that was the temporary home of the McKinley Park Community Garden.

Aberdeen development Pershing Road Damen Avenue 20190117Aberdeen Development's currently active project rests on the south side of Pershing Road at Damen Avenue and consists of both the former cold storage warehouse currently being gutted and the lot containing an adjacent two-story building.

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