UPDATE, 11:15 a.m., June 21: Clark Street Real Estate and Ryan Companies are set to unveil a 10-story mixed-use senior housing complex in Portage Park’s Six Corners Shopping District, fulfilling a years-old pledge to fill a four-acre hole at the center of one of the city’s fastest-growing commercial cross-points.
The proposal for the Point at Six Corners calls for 265 market-rate apartments and 237 parking spaces atop 50,000 square feet of retail space, according to 45th ward Alderman John Arena, who represents the area where the building is being proposed.
About 80 of the apartments will be traditional “independent living” homes, but the rest will be designed for either assisted living or memory care for residents with dementia, according to Owen Brugh, the alderman’s chief of staff.
Ryan Companies, whose portfolio includes four senior-living facilities across four different states, will manage the apartments, Brugh said.
“With the aging baby boomer population, the market for senior living has really increased,” Brugh said. “There are seniors who want to retire in the city, whether they live there now or they’re empty nesters who raised kids in the suburbs and want to come back for the amenities.”
Representatives for the Ryan and Clark Street have declined to provide more details before their public presentation scheduled for June 21.
The new plan represents Clark Street’s second pass at developing the pie-slice parcel between Irving Park Road and Milwaukee Avenue.
The developer paid $10 million for the property in June 2014 and proposed a single-story retail mall anchored by a grocery chain and clothing outlet. After the city approved the plan in 2016, workers razed a decades-old bank building on the site and dug a foundation, but the project stalled when the property owner struggled to find tenants.
Since summer 2016, the site has remained a block-sized crater hemmed by chain-link fences.
While looking forward to the project, area property owners and renters are wary of another fake-out, according to Tim Ryan, president and managing broker of Monarch Realty Corp., who bears no relation to Ryan Companies.
“We’re all kind of waiting to see whether it can be can be done,” said Ryan, who lives in Portage Park and sits on the Six Corners Association’s economic vitality committee.
“We always want to know is whether they have the financing in place to begin at least the first couple phases of the project, and whether they have a clear path going forward. No one wants to see a developer walk away from a half-built shell because the winds of the economy have changed.”
Once one of Chicago’s busiest retail districts, the Six Corners area suffered a steep decline starting in the 1970s, and this month’s closure of the city’s last Sears outlet at 4720 West Irving Park throws the neighborhood even deeper into flux.
But the district’s retail strength has also resurged post-recession, as an influx of young professionals has sent new demand cascading up the city’s northwest side Blue Line corridor.
Since 2014, 45 new businesses have opened inside the district’s officially-marked boundaries, according to Kelli Wefenstette, director of the Six Corners Association. And Ryan said retail vacancies within a mile radius of the intersection have roughly halved since 2015.
That trend can only accelerate if the Point is seen through to completion, Ryan said.
Six Corners “is so far west that it’s been off the map for a while, but we’re seeing a lot of commercial opportunities now that are supported by this growing residential base,” Ryan said. “And if you have elderly people moving in, then their families are going to visit, and inevitably, they’re going to be spending their money somewhere.”