ULI Chicago Panel Recommends Revitalization Strategies for the North Avenue Corridor in Oak Park and Chicago
May 21, 2019
On December 12-13, 2018, ULI Chicago in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), convened a Technical Assistance Panel of 11 ULI member experts to prepare revitalization strategies for North Avenue between Harlem Avenue and Austin Boulevard. Through this 1.6 mile long stretch, North Avenue is an interjurisdictional corridor—the north side is in the City of Chicago while the south side is in the Village of Oak Park. Large numbers of cars and trucks speed along the corridor daily and development opportunities vary.
ULI Chicago’s panelists worked collaboratively over 2 days to prepare a realistic and implementable development framework for the corridor. The panel recommended making it an immediate priority to work collaboratively across municipal lines to implement transportation and streetscape improvements for improving access, safety and comfort for all users. Infrastructure improvements will lay the foundation necessary to sustain existing and attract new development. The panel recommended focusing development efforts within strategic nodes to jump-start corridor revitalization. Several key sites along the corridor that are currently lying vacant, have the potential to redeveloped as mixed-use sites with ground-level commercial/community use to activate the street and residential above. New residents will infuse the corridor with a new energy and demand for goods and services, strengthening the overall development environment.
As Panel Chair, Todd Berlinghof, said “North Avenue is at a tipping point with key redevelopment opportunities that can transform it from a struggling commercial corridor into a vibrant, mixed-use corridor. To make that happen, all sides of the street will have to come together to create a unified vision for North Avenue’s future and work collaboratively to implement it.”