The Clybourn Corridor, the thriving and growing retail and residential strip along Clybourn Ave in Lincoln Park is adjacent to the city’s first Planned Manufacturing Districts – Clybourn, Elston and Goose Island. The districts were created to preserve manufacturing and industrial uses within their boundaries by making it difficult to rezone parcels for incompatible uses. The Reader’s Ben Joravsky, writing in 1988, provided a good overview of the issues and the history of the Clybourn PMD.
A 2005 evaluation of the initial districts by the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Center for Economic Development gave mixed reviews to their success, finding that the Clybourn PMD was the least successful in achieving its objectives, given that the district’s “buffer zone” east of Kingsbury had largely converted to non-industrial uses. LISC-Chicago recently summarized the UWM research in a way that bears little relation to its actual contents.
The Children’s Memorial Hospital and Webster Square sites have garnered much attention in the past few months, but the planned departure of A. Finkl & Sons from its Clybourn PMD site looms as a much more significant transition in the Lincoln Park real estate scene. Late in June the City Council approved $22.5M in TIF funds to assist Finkl’s move to a South Side site in Burnside. What will replace Finkl at its Clybourn location, and what impact that will have on the area, are very much open questions.
In the meantime, the shoppers who flock to the Clybourn Corridor might enjoy a sally west of Kingsbury for a look at Lincoln Park’s back yard, pictured above.