The Real Deal Chicago

Lincoln Yards development clears hurdle after railroad spat settled

The tiff had been a hiccup for the project along the North Branch of the Chicago River
May 03, 2018 08:00AM

Lincoln Yards development site and Andy Gloor

The latest obstacle to Sterling Bay and its plans for the massive Lincoln Yards development along the North Branch corridor wasn’t restrictive zoning restrictions, a powerful alderman or a vocal contingent of local NIMBY’s.

It was a railroad company with a habit of storing railcars in the middle of the street.

But Sterling Bay has cleared that hurdle now that the federal Surface Transportation Board recently granted its application to force the railroad company, Iowa Pacific, to abandon those tracks, according to Crain’s.

The company owns tracks near Sterling Bay’s 70-acre Lincoln Yards development, which is also near and R2 Companies’ office redevelopment project at 909 West Bliss Street on nearby Goose Island.

“I believe the company’s M.O. is to store cars on the train tracks in an attempt to get payments from developers, property owners and the City of Chicago,” R2’s Matt Garrison told Crain’s in September.

It’s not known whether the railroad company accepted a payment as a condition of giving up its tracks.

One thing control of the tracks paves the way for is a centerpiece of Sterling Bay’s plan for Lincoln Yards: an extension of the popular 606 path across the Chicago River.

The city, Iowa Pacific and Sterling Bay are in negotiations to hand over a stretch of track to be turned into the path extension. [Crain’s]Scott Klocksin