Photo voltaic farm proposed for poisonous Southeast Side industrial website

A part of a enormous toxic industrial internet site on the Southeast Aspect is becoming viewed as for a future dwelling to a photo voltaic farm.

The Prepare dinner County Land Bank Authority has taken title to land in close proximity to East 114th Road and South Torrence Avenue, clearing the property’s again taxes in hopes of drawing a solar procedure on about 36 acres, a spokesman mentioned Tuesday.

The assets is section of a sprawling previous internet site of the former Acme coke procedure, which has been dormant for many years. The land lender desires to lease the land to California photo voltaic company SunPower for up to 35 many years. A lease-solution arrangement is staying drafted, and the company will have two yrs to determine if it needs to enter into a very long-phrase lease.

The land is about a 3rd of a massive area wherever the metal-creating gasoline coke was developed for almost a century, a remnant of Chicago’s industrial previous. Previously this year, a Southeast Aspect neighborhood team requested the U.S. Environmental Defense Agency to clean up the site so it can be produced into a park or a blend of leisure and industrial house.

There have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in back house taxes owed, Cook County information present, as the land has very long been deserted. The county land bank is established up to place attributes back on the tax rolls.

The proposed transaction is a very first-of-its-kind transaction for the land financial institution, which typically sells properties to prospective buyers who agree to produce vacant land or properties. Usually, the land financial institution can take regulate of a property, clears away the back again taxes and sells it. The transaction the land financial institution seeks with SunPower is far more usual of a solar progress as the companies like long-term leases above land ownership.

Condition and federal officers earlier identified the site as becoming hugely toxic and posing a risk to trespassers. Surrounded by two town parks, Massive Marsh and Indian Ridge Marsh, group organizers say the spot is a superior prospect for a further leisure space.

The land lender is seeking bids from firms who will assess the environmental cleanup. “Given the background of the site, it is important that we obviously realize the worries,” it explained in a assertion to the Solar-Periods.

This overhead picture displays the spot in which SunPower’s photo voltaic facility will be positioned if it normally takes up 36 acres on the Southeast Sides.

In 2010, SunPower and Exelon produced a 41-acre solar power plant on a formerly abandoned residence in West Pullman.

SunPower stated it is “optimistic” about the Southeast project, introducing the caveat it will have to have time to appraise the site.

“These assignments require extensive thanks diligence, and we have not yet formally entered into the phase exactly where we can identify if this web page will be feasible for photo voltaic,” Nathan Griset, a SunPower senior director, said in a assertion.

Peggy Salazar, whose team the Southeast Environmental Process Force petitioned the EPA about the site, mentioned she hopes the job has a direct profit to the bordering community.

“I really do not have a problem with the photo voltaic farm, but if we’re going to be internet hosting this electric power era, how do we advantage from it?” she asked.

A town formal echoed Salazar’s sentiment.

“The metropolis encourages the developer to foster deep partnerships with local leaders to ensure significant co-positive aspects for the bordering communities,” Angela Tovar, Chicago’s chief sustainability officer, mentioned in a assertion.

Tovar added, “We are thrilled at the prospect of big-scale renewable electrical power technology within the town boundaries.”

In September, the EPA mentioned it would perform with point out environmental officers to figure out if the website is suitable for a federal cleanup program. A point out official mentioned she experienced no update on the progress.

In a statement, an EPA spokeswoman mentioned the company was not aware of the photo voltaic challenge but included “many redevelopments go forward unbiased of the federal brownfields plan.”

Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and community overall health is built achievable by a grant from The Chicago Community Rely on.