The planned development on the former U.S. Steel site on Chicago’s far south side will not go forward. Irish developer Emerald Living has announced their departure from the project, which was a joint venture with Spanish firm Barcelona Housing Systems. The statement suggested that site remediation efforts required to clean up the site would be cost-prohibitive.
“We generated lots of goodwill and momentum with our inclusive, community-centric vision for this property,” Emerald Living CEO Barry O’Neill said in a statement. “However, and perhaps not surprisingly, the industrial heritage of this site presented significant challenges which, despite best endeavors by all, made it impossible to conclude the deal with U.S. Steel in its current format.”
The European firms entered into a purchase and sale agreement with the city last August. However, soil contamination was detected on the 440-acre site last month. The massive, undeveloped site formerly was home to a steel mill until Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel’s departure in 1992.
McCaffery Interests had previously attempted to develop the site, but abandoned those plans in 2016. The Emerald Living-Barcelona Housing Systems project called for an innovative, environmentally-friendly mixed-use neighborhood with up to 20,000 housing units, using the Spanish “superblocks” method.