The 430-acre site of the former U.S. Steel South Works plant could be sold as a whole or in as many as four pieces, depending on what the market bears, a commercial real estate broker and consultant said Monday.
Cushman & Wakefield was hired to market and sell the property for U.S. Steel after a split between the steel giant and prominent Chicago developer Dan McCaffery killed plans for a “new city” on the long-vacant site.
McCaffery’s ambitious plan called for building as many as 13,000 homes and 17.5 million square feet of commercial space on the site. That deal is dead now that his partnership with U.S. Steel has ended.
Now, Cushman & Wakefield has broken the site into four potential parcels. Three of the parcels are anywhere from 56 to 135 acres. They’re located east of the Lake Shore Drive extension. The fourth parcel includes 111 acres, but it’s not not accessible to the lakefront.
Still, Larry Goldwasser, a senior director for Cushman & Wakefield, said the massive property still may be sold as a whole.
“We’re marketing it both ways. We don’t want to exclude anybody. Some buyers are gonna want to buy 430 acres. Others will only want a portion of it. So we were showing the natural division of the site in our marketing materials. They can see where it divides and make an offer on that piece,” Goldwasser said Monday.
“We have buyers looking at purchasing the entire development site and other buyers looking at parts of the site. Once we receive all of the offers and see what the best direction is for U.S. Steel to go, then we’ll know if it’ll be sold in parcels or to one single buyer. There’s no preference. Whatever makes the most sense once the offers are in,” he said.
Goldwasser said the possibilities now include industrial, residential and retail development or construction of a “vacation community” on the massive lakefront site.
He insisted that there has been interest “across the board from local, national and global” developers. But he refused to identify them.
“We’ve had industrial developers say that it’s the nicest setting for an industrial park in the entire country,” Goldwasser said.
“An industrial development on a portion of the site is going to be a catalyst for the rest of the development. There’s more of a focus from industrial developers to get that kicked off now,” he said. “We’ll be able to make progress there sooner than on other types of development. The past development was not industrial. They were more focused on multi-family and retail.”
New marketing materials distributed by Cushman & Wakefield have branded the site as “8080 Lakeshore.” The 430 acres of “unlimited possibilities” are touted for their “proximity to Hyde Park, historic Pullman and world class institutions” like the University of Chicago and the future home of Barack Obama’s presidential library.
“Located just ten miles south of downtown Chicago, 8080 Lakeshore is one of the largest contiguous infill, waterfront parcels currently available for sale in the United States,” the materials state.
“Formerly U.S. Steel’s South Works mill, 8080 Lakeshore consists of 430 acres of land nestled on over three miles of pristine Lake Michigan shoreline. The property’s diverse terrain offers unparalleled views of downtown Chicago, easy access to the I-90 and I-94 expressways as well as transportation. In addition, the construction of a new four-lane extension of Lake Shore Drive was completed in 2013. This extension runs through the site, provide two miles of highway frontage.”
After McCaffery’s partnership with U.S. Steel fell apart, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was determined to jump-start the massive development.
“We have done what was asked of us to help lift that project off the ground [by extending] Lake Shore Drive. They said, if we would just build that road, things could happen,” the mayor said then.
“I still want to see the economic development, the job creation, the investment in a neighborhood. But I can’t go right now beyond what we have done because that’s what was seen as a priority for us to do.”
If it happens, development of the U.S. Steel parcel could create thousands of jobs and generate tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue for the city, the mayor said then.
“We are trying to work with the parties to see . . . what is salvageable. I still think the original plan of residential development and retail development is the right plan, given it’s a unique piece of property with a beautiful view on the waterfront which is prime real estate. I still believe in the principles and the fundamentals of that endeavor,” Emanuel said then.