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City Slaps Stop Work Order On $90 Million Six Corners Sears Redevelopment

Workers on the site were building without a permit, city officials said. It's the second time developers have been forced to stop work on the project.

The former Sears building, 4712-4738 W. Irving Park Road, received a stop work order Aug. 23, 2022 for starting construction without a permit that included erecting concrete pillars.
Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
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PORTAGE PARK — Developers on the massive Six Corners Sears overhaul have been ordered to stop construction on the project — again.

The former Sears building at 4712-4738 W. Irving Park Road is being redeveloped into luxury apartments, a project expected to cost $90 million. But it was hit with a stop work order Tuesday from the city’s Department of Buildings, which found work was being done without a permit. It ordered workers to stop construction immediately.

Work on the interior and construction of another story was being done without a permit, according to the city. Concrete columns were also being put up without a permit, which violated three city codes, according to a notice posted to the building.

Buildings Commissioner Matthew Beaudet “found significant structural and mechanical work being performed without the necessary permits … that far exceeds the interior demolition work being performed under separate permits,” spokesperson Michael Puccinelli said.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
The former Sears building, 4712-4738 W. Irving Park Road, received a stop work order Aug. 23, 2022 for starting construction without a permit.

The development is overseen by Novak Construction, an experienced developer behind other big projects throughout the city, including Portillo’s, Downtown mixed-use developments and the Gold Coast’s new Whole Foods.

Construction permits for the Six Corners project have been pending since May, according to the city’s portal. Developers must collaborate with several city departments and private utility companies to move forward with construction, Puccinelli said.

Novak submitted drawings for the build-out and additions to the Department of Buildings for review at the end of April; the department completed its initial review of the drawings and sent corrections back to the company May 9, Puccinelli said.

The company’s re-submitted application to continue with construction still didn’t meet the requirements, Puccinelli said.

On Tuesday, the same day the stop work order was issued, Novak submitted additional documentation for a zoning re-review to the city’s Department of Planning and Development, but that’s only one part of it, Puccinelli said.

The “applicant has not completed the required steps to comply with the Affordable Requirements Ordinance and has not obtained all the necessary utility sign offs,” Puccinelli said in a statement Wednesday. The Department of Buildings “cannot conduct a final review of the permit application or issue a permit until these related approvals are completed.

“In the interest of the safety of workers and the public, no work may be performed until all necessary permits are obtained and all other remedial issues are resolved.”

The city will inspect the work performed without permits to ensure it meets city codes, Puccinelli said. Any work that does not meet the codes must be corrected or removed by the owner.

Representatives for Novak did not respond to requests for comment.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
The former Sears building, 4712-4738 W. Irving Park Road, as seen Aug. 24, 2022.

The recent stop-work order is the second one for the development. In January 2021, the Department of Buildings halted workers who were doing demolition without a permit, officials said.

“Demolition work had commenced without a permit and the unpermitted work included the removal of escalators and elevators, which left unprotected openings and a dangerous and hazardous condition for workers, first responders, and the public,” Puccinelli said.

Novak obtained permits March 8, 2021, for interior demolition and May 27, 2021, for exterior demolition.

The development will have 206 apartments — six of them affordable — that will be a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units with rents of $2,750-$3,000 per month. About 50,000 square feet of retail will take up the ground floor, with Target as the anchor tenant.

The redevelopment plans call for a fifth-floor addition to the former department store, a portion of which was built in 1938. It closed in 2018.

The building had been undergoing demolition work for parts of the historical building since March 2021 and recently began building an additional floor.

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