Bus line Greyhound is moving forward with plans to move a maintenance facility off Goose Island, paving the way for another large real estate development along the Chicago River.
Greyhound on Aug. 20 paid $5.3 million for an 8-acre site in the Canaryville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, where the company plans to build a new facility, said broker Mark Nelson, who represented the property’s seller.
Acquiring land elsewhere for a bus maintenance operation is the latest step toward Greyhound cashing in on rising property values along the river. Vancouver-based developer Onni Group has a contract to buy the Halsted Street property for about $50 million, according to sources.
The North Side deal has not been completed, and could still fall apart. But Onni Group plans a big residential development on the 8-acre site, amid a burst of other huge projects being drawn up along the river.
If Onni Group’s plan works out, the gritty, industrial island — once known as “Little Hell” — will have its first residents in several decades.
Greyhound has had the property — mostly at 901 N. Halsted St., but also including land across the street at 904 N. Halsted — up for sale since January 2017. In March, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Onni Group wanted to buy the property, demolish the existing structure and build as many as 1,000 apartments on the site.
The site falls within an area where the city’s Affordable Requirement Ordinance was revised last year, increasing the percentage of affordable units that must be included in a development. Developers must designate 15 percent of units on-site as affordable units, rather than the usual 10 percent.
Ald. Walter Burnett, whose 27th Ward includes the Goose Island site, said Onni Group officials are not deterred by the affordable unit requirements. The developer has yet to show him specific plans, Burnett said.
The project would require public meetings, and eventually the alderman’s support, before gaining zoning approval from the city.
Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson declined to comment on negotiations with Onni Group or the bus company’s plans for the South Side property. The vacant land is at 3940 S. Normal Ave., less than a half-mile south of Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox.
Greyhound bought the site from the DiFoggio family, which owns DiFoggio Plumbing & Sewer Contractors, according to brokers Mark and Mike Nelson, who represented the family in the sale. Dan Reynolds of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Greyhound.
It’s unclear when Greyhound plans to start building the new facility.
The planned move comes as ambitious development proposals continue to emerge along the North Branch of the Chicago River, after the city last year made land-use changes in a 3.7-mile stretch once dominated by industrial uses. The southern portion of Goose Island was rezoned to allow residential development.
North of Greyhound’s site, Sterling Bay proposes a more than 70-acre mixed-use development called Lincoln Yards along the river between Lincoln Park and Bucktown. Just south of Greyhound’s site, Tribune Media wants to redevelop 37 acres in its River District project.
South of downtown, in an area not part of the land-use changes, Related Midwest has drawn up The 78, a mixed-use plan for 62 acres of riverfront land between the South Loop and Chinatown.