Ald. Vasquez says Temple Steel campus won’t give way to luxury housing

The alderman said any residential developer looking to work with the property must include affordable housing

Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) and 5500 N. Wolcott Ave. (Credit: Google Maps)
Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) and 5500 N. Wolcott Ave. (Credit: Google Maps)

A massive Bowmanville property is up for grabs for developers, as long as they’re willing to include affordable housing. Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) said that any residential developer interested in the 21-acre lot at 5500 N. Wolcott Ave. should expect to talk about affordable housing.

The lot was home to Temple Steel for 75 years and was put on the market earlier this month so the company could move to a more updated plant. No offers have been put in on the property so far, Block Club reported.

Though the property is currently zoned for manufacturing, Colliers International brokers Vern Schultz and Mike Senner told the Tribune they are marketing the campus as a “blank slate” to attract both commercial and residential developers. But the property isn’t close to any public transportation so that could pose a challenge for certain developers, Vasquez told Block Club.

There’s a chance the property will attract a retailer or e-commerce company to come in and develop the property. Amazon has been gobbling up properties in the Chicagoland area and retailers such as Target have also been inking deals to build more “last-mile” distribution centers.

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“It’s obviously already zoned for that,” Vasquez told Block Club. “That might actually be the most successful endeavor there, barring somebody figures out how to do affordable housing at that property in a way that makes sense.”

However, if a residential developer wants to take on the property, affordable housing will have to be in the discussion.

“When it comes to housing, which is obviously in the front of a lot of folks’ mind, we want to make sure that there is an aggressive affordable housing component to even entertain that conversation,” Vasquez said to Block Club.

Any potential zoning changes would have to be brought to residents of the 40th Ward.

[Block Club] — Jacqueline Flynn