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Fulton Market Cold Storage may be next business hub

Exteriors FultCold Storage Warehouse 1000 W. FultWednesday June 6 2012 Chicago. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

Exteriors of the Fulton Cold Storage Warehouse at 1000 W. Fulton on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 in Chicago. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 8, 2012 6:57PM

A Near West Side fixture, the 10-story Fulton Market Cold Storage warehouse, would be converted to office and retail use under a plan submitted to city officials.

Developer Sterling Bay Cos. wants to transform the brick behemoth at 1000 W. Fulton Market into a business hub for a changing neighborhood. The surrounding area has long had meat and produce wholesalers, and while those operations remain, they’ve been joined by residents, loft offices and fashionable restaurants.

The changes can create conflicts. The meat and produce dealers operate within a zone the city has reserved for manufacturers, but the warehouse falls outside of it.

The proposal also calls for a large complement of off-street parking. Sterling Bay has proposed 201 spaces within the warehouse, and another 105 on adjacent property it wants to redevelop.

It wants to raze several small buildings around 1022 W. Fulton, just west of the warehouse, and replace them with a six-story, 178,000-square-foot center for offices and stores.

A partner at Sterling Bay, Andy Gloor, could not be reached Wednesday. The company’s proposal is contained in an application filed with the city to rezone the property.

The application starts a hearing process that could take a few months. Any zoning change must pass the City Council.

The warehouse covers 380,000 square feet and stands out in overhead photos as a large structure just outside the city’s high-rise neighborhoods. Assessment records show the building is at least 89 years old.

During the years of gentrification on the Near West Side, many speculated the building would become residential. Some in the area now say the commercial proposal is better suited to the manufacturing district.

Andrew Fogaty, director of outreach for the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, said the development’s tenants could account for 2,000 jobs. “From our position, we need those jobs,” he said.

He said his group is officially neutral about the project. Others in the community have tried to kill the project via prolonged negotiations with the developer, Fogaty said, declining to give names.

The Randolph Fulton Market Association, which represents the meat and produce dealers, has been in discussions with Sterling Bay since March, said Executive Director Roger Romanelli. He said the group is considering an alternate zoning proposal that meets Sterling Bay’s needs while providing added protection for the manufacturers, but he declined to elaborate.

The cold storage business has been operated by Amit Hasak. The company’s website said that as of July 1, the business will move to 8424 W. 47th St. in Lyons and will operate as Hasak Cold Storage.

The zoning application said Sterling Bay has a contract to buy the Fulton buildings. The company has invested in a variety of deals from downtown through the suburbs and is renovating a building at 400 S. Jefferson as the headquarters for Hillshire Brands Co., the North American half of Sara Lee, which is splitting in two.

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