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    Fern Hill eyeing big Old Town redevelopment

    Nick Anderson’s Fern Hill Company has its eye on a historic corner of Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood.

    The Chicago developer is planning what will likely be a tower at the northwest corner of West North Avenue and North LaSalle Drive, and working on incorporating other properties it already owns or has agreements with into a redevelopment proposal for the area.

    While the developer hasn’t specified whether new buildings will be apartments, offices or otherwise, the area’s current zoning allows residential and retail uses.

    The project would be anchored by the century-old Moody Church, the Chicago History Museum and the Latin School of Chicago, which Anderson dubbed the “cultural triangle.”

    “It’s just overwhelmingly beneficial for all these parcels to work together on a cohesive plan,” Anderson said at a community meeting Thursday evening.

    While Fern Hill hasn’t yet drawn up plans for the project or issued a formal proposal, they’ve already secured architect David Adjaye, known for the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., for what will be his first development in Chicago.

    Moody Church owns Fern Hill’s planned new development site, which is now a surface parking lot, and is making an agreement with the development to consolidate air rights, allowing for a taller building to be constructed.

    Fern Hill also owns and plans to redevelop the two gas stations, a BP at the intersection of West La Salle Drive and North Clark Street and a Shell at the northeast corner of North LaSalle Drive and West North Boulevard, as well as the former Treasure Island grocery store, which Fern Hill is looking to fill with another high-quality grocery.

    Also involved is the Walgreens next to the parking lot, the owner of which Anderson said is open to agreeing to consolidate air rights.

    The developer has been soliciting neighborhood input since fall 2021 and hopes to release the specifics of the plan this spring, Anderson said.

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