CHICAGO-Progress, starting with the advent of the expressway as well as the growth of the airline industry, has long passed a nearly two-mile stretch of N. Lincoln Avenue by. In its wake was left more than a dozen motels, many of them opting for a market willing to pay an hourly, rather than nightly, rate.

That is about to change, assuming once-willing developers line up for a request for proposals the city department of planning and development is likely to issue as soon as today. “Three or four” developers may be sought to redevelop seven motels in a 25-square-block area along Lincoln between Foster and Devon avenues.

“Our community has an area on Lincoln Avenue that’s been in need of redevelopment since the expressways opened,” says Alderman Patrick J. O’Connor. “There’s been a great deal of interest over the years, but we’ve been unable to move forward…because you couldn’t assemble properties in a way that would make sense.”

The city is willing to provide up to $500,000 to help acquire each of the sites, making its investment worth as much as $3.5 million. If need be, city officials say they have the authority to begin condemnation proceedings.

Besides transient motels that keep Chicago police department vice units busy, vacant storefronts along Lincoln Avenue are another reason to replace the obsolete properties with a better land use. Ideally, the department of planning and development officials would like to see mixed-use retail and residential projects replace the motels.

An evaluation committee will recommend a short list of would-be developers to department commissioner Alicia Berg. Those developers making the cut will be asked to provide a narrative of their proposal, cost estimates and budgets for the project as well as their financial statements.

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