building goose island
The purchased building used to house print newspaper advertising insert operations.
Photo courtesy of CoStar Group and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Chicago transaction could portend demo job

Canada-based developer buys vacant building on land near proposed casino.

July 13, 2022

A Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based real estate development firm has reportedly purchased a property that hosts a vacant building with the intention of demolishing the structure to build an apartment complex.

A late June online report on therealdeal.com website says the Vancouver-based Onni Group paid $45 million for a seven-acre site in the Goose Island neighborhood near the proposed location of Chicago’s first casino.

The parcel had been owned by Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group and Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development. Those two companies, according to therealdeal.com, had earlier proposed to tear down 115,000-square foot building on the West Chicago Avenue site to build four office towers with some residential space included.

The website says, however, those plans were cancelled as the COVID-19 pandemic soured the outlook for the office space market.

Another online media report, from Crain’s Chicago Business, says what Onni is proposing involves building some 2,700 apartments on Goose Island and could involve the acquisition of additional property.

According to therealdeal.com, the earlier redevelopment proposal had advanced to the point that Nexstar “won City Council approval to demolish the vacant 115,00-square-foot building.”

The sizable building had once been used to collate advertising inserts into the Chicago Tribune newspaper, a practice that has dwindled along with the distribution of printed newspapers.

Goose Island is attracting redevelopment money (and likely demolition jobs) because in May of this year, the city of Chicago announced it had accepted a $1.7 billion bid from Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corp. to open a casino there.

According to therealdeal.com, the casino project also will entail demolition, possibly of buildings on a 30-acre site where the Tribune used to be printed.

Canadian developer Onni has a second proposed residential project on Goose Island that could result in the demolition of a former Greyhound bus maintenance facility there, reports the website.