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CHICAGO-The city is prepared to take a loss of more than $900,000 on the sale of a 24,000-sf vacant lot at the southeast corner of North Avenue and Pulaski Road. However, city officials hope a target price of $507,000, the appraised value for the site of a former fast-food operation, attracts retail development.

The city acquired the property in 2001 through condemnation, paying a price of nearly $1.5 million based on an appraised value that included the former fast-food stand, demolished in 1999, and a large revenue-producing billboard at the heavily traveled Humboldt Park intersection. The most recent appraisal is for land value only.

However, a developer could build up to 50,000 sf on the site under its current B3-2 zoning.

“It’s a very key intersection within the commercial area,” says Mary Bonome of the department of planning and development. “It’s an area where we have very few vacancies along the commercial strip, but it’s a very old area.”

Early indications are that is likely to change. In addition to posting a sign on the property advertising its availability, the city added it to a Retail Chicago tour, showing it to potential developers recently, Bonome tells the community development commission, which approved a request for proposals for the site.

“There’s significant interest in this site,” she adds.

Other business owners report it previously was a significant problem, complaining the fast-food operation attracted gang members, prostitutes and drug sales. Also, Ariel E. Reboyras’ predecessors in the 30th Ward aldermanic office preferred to see the lot used as a parking lot.

“We need something new in the area,” Reboyras says. “It’s been an eyesore for some time in this community.”

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