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CHICAGO-The working-class Portage Park neighborhood on this city’s Northwest Side would seem an unlikely spot for a Porsche dealership. “I told them I thought they were kind of crazy when they put it in.” says 38th Ward Alderman Thomas R. Allen.

Not too many are calling Lynch Auto Group crazy now, as the company embarks on a 28,000-sf, $2.7-million expansion of their dealership at 5219 W. Irving Park Rd. after receiving assurances from the foreign automaker that it will receive an exclusive right to sell high-end sports utility vehicles.

To make the deal work, the city is acquiring a banquet facility next to the dealership, which Lynch Auto Group will use for its new showroom and service center. The car dealer has agreed to pay the cost of acquiring three parcels as well as relocating the banquet facility.

The community development commission has requested alternative proposals for the parcels being acquired by the city, but the deal appears ready to roll out the door considering Lynch Auto Group is asking for no financial assistance.

Meanwhile, the car dealer gets high marks for improving a three-block stretch on Irving Park Road, having invested $10 million in the area. “They’ve been improving their properties,” says Allen, adding the dealership also generates significant sales tax revenue in addition to paying property taxes. “If this campus didn’t exist, the revenues would be somewhere else—namely the suburbs.”

On the other hand, the banquet hall is dark during the week, operating only on the weekend. However, its operation results in complaints to the ward office as well as the police, whose response includes writing driving under the influence tickets to some departing party-goers. “It causes a lot of trouble in the neighborhood,” Allen says.

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