Onni Group backs off bid for Goose Island Greyhound site

Alderman Walter Burnett said the developer “couldn’t handle” the cost of the site

Onni Group has backed out of its contract with Greyhound to build an apartment complex on the bus company’s eight-acre Goose Island facility.

The deal had been lined up for nearly a year, but it fizzled in part because of the tighter affordability requirements the city imposed on new development in some areas late last year, according to Crain’s. The site at 901 North Halsted Street lies inside the city’s Near North affordability pilot zone, where all new residential developments must rent at least 20 percent of their units below market rate.

Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th) told Crain’s that Onni “couldn’t handle” the cost of the site, whose value shot up after it was rezoned to allow residential uses as part of last year’s North Branch Framework plan.

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Reports surfaced in March the Vancouver-based Onni was in talks to pay Greyhound $50 million for the 190,000-square-foot property. In August, the bus company bought an eight-acre tract of vacant land in the Canaryville neighborhood on the South Side, signaling the Goose Island deal was moving forward.

R2 Companies moved its headquarters to Goose Island in June, hoping to lead a wave of new commercial development on the island since last year’s mass rezoning.

Also in June, Onni Group rolled out a proposal for a 356-unit apartment tower at 353 West Grand Avenue in River North.  Last month, it paid $18 million to buy the West Loop property where Cardiff Mason had been approved to build a 373-unit apartment building. [Crain’s] — Alex Nitkin