Barcelona Housing Systems’ massive South Works project on hold

Developer is tapping brakes on mixed-use development because of soil contamination

Barcelona Housing Systems’ plan for a massive mixed-use development on the old U.S. Steel South Works site is on hold.

The multi-billion-dollar mixed-use project that would include 20,000 new homes on the 440-acre site is “currently on hold because of soil contamination problems that need to be cleared,” the company said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune.

In August, the city announced Barcelona Housing and Emerald Living, a unit of Dublin-based WElink Group, would buy and redevelop the property that spans the lakefront, from 79th Street to the Calumet River.

U.S. Steel, which closed its mill on the site in 1992, said the property has already been cleaned up and is ready to be redeveloped.

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The Pittsburgh-based company spent a decade working with Chicago-based McCaffery Interests planning a redevelopment that would have included thousands of homes, millions of square feet of commercial space and a marina. That partnership fell apart in 2016, according to the Tribune.

U.S. Steel then hired Cushman & Wakefield to find a buyer for the site.

Barcelona Housing and Emerald Living had five months to conduct due diligence, including environmental tests. The firm later received an extension until mid-May, “after contaminants were found,” according to the Tribune.

Representatives for the city and Cushman & Wakefield declined comment. Barcelona Housing did not respond to followup questions on the project. [Crain’s] — John O’Brien