East 39th Street Commercial Corridor Plan by Chris Devins


Street Commercial Corridor Plan is a comprehensive commercial real estate development plan that envisions the future of the East 39th Street Commercial
Corridor and the surrounding 2 mile trade area in Chicago, based on current demographic, real estate market, zoning, land use, political and commercial business data. For more visit Chris Devins Creative on the web. https;//chrisdevinscreative.com

Trends affecting Chicago’s existing corridors

include a market preference for

large format stores, a market preference

for discount power centers with multiple

large format stores, the anti-urban bias

of many retailers, and the decline of

traditional neighborhood anchors like

department stores and grocery stores.

Chicago has over 700 miles of retail

strips. At least 40% of this retail space

is vacant 14 . This indicates the need to

convert some retail into other uses and

to concentrate existing retail into “activity

centers.” Activity centers are focal

points of economic activity, planned

for concentrations of compact development.

Many existing Activity Centers

have the capacity for new growth. There

are three types of Activity Centers:

• Center City

•Mixed Use Centers

• Industrial Centers

Activity Centers are characterized by

retail designed to serve the surrounding

community and, in some cases the region,

moderate (up to 22 units per acre)

to high density (over 22 units per acre)

and regional and neighborhood serving

office space and civic uses such as urban

parks, religious institutions and libraries.

They are places with a diversity of uses

14 Source: UIC Land Use Planning Class

that draw traffic from the entire city,

with a significant pedestrian orientation

and both day and evening uses. Successful

examples of naturally occurring activity

centers in Chicago that could provide

a model for the development of East

39th street include Chinatown, the East

Indian shops and restaurants on Devon

Avenue and the Vietnamese restaurant/

shop cluster on Argyle. East 39th could

establish an identity and position itself

well into the future by returning to

its past as a local neighborhood shopping

center with development focused

around specific intersections and by

drawing in some of the average 31,000

Chicago White Sox Fans who exit US Cellular

Field’s 39th street parking lots after

home games.

In the short term of 1-2 years, during

the period before the Oakwood Shores

and Metropolis Developments come online,

a commercial market study shows

fairly weak demand for commercial

space. I therefore propose that policies

in the near term consolidate and restrict

retail uses to the area between Interstate

90/94 to the west and South King

Drive, to the east for several reasons.

1. This node has an anchor in Phase

1 of the Metropolis Development

and Roundy’s Grocery at the corner


of 39th Street and State, which will

be completed by 2013. This action

adds new retail space.

2. Residents of the 102 condominiums

being built at Metropolis will be

potential customers of its retail.

3. The area is near US Cellular Field’s

39th Street parking lot and the

thousands of fans exiting each of 92

home games.

4. Interstate 90/94 exit at 39th street

has a traffic count of 232,800 cars

and trucks per day., meaning at

least that many potential customers.

Given the existing commercial market

conditions, construction of new retail

buildings to the east of King Drive is

unlikely in the near term. I recommend

improving the existing retail corridor

with facade improvements to the buildings,

coordinated signage, and new


VISION: Develop an anchored

neighborhood retail district on

East 39th Street serving local

residents, commuters and Chicago

White Sox Fans. This district will

connect to and support the wider

neighborhood and its amenities.