The Permit Review Committee, a subcommittee of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, has approved the construction of a CTA substation at 2023 W North Avenue in West Town. The substation is located on a lot directly adjacent to the CTA Blue Line tracks between N Damen Avenue and N Hoyne Avenue. The Chicago Transit Authority is in charge of the project.
Designed by Ross Barney Architects, the project encompasses a two-story brick substation that will replace an existing surface parking lot. The station is needed to meet service demands and track power needs for the O’Hare Blue Line.
The front consists of a one-story annex building with a larger two-story substation directly behind it rising 32 feet tall. The building is setback 38 feet from the street to provide a public plaza. The structural system is filled in with brick, louvers, and a glass curtain wall system. Fencing will enclose the parking and the ComEd transformer vaults, and will top the one-story annex. The plaza will use permeable pavers sectioned by concrete bands. There is a potential for murals on the brick walls and the ground of the plaza.
Galvanized structural steel will be used with manganese ironspot smooth brick and metal louvers and panels, which will be finished in a stone gray color. The curtain wall will have clear vision glass to allow CTA riders on the train and platform to see inside the building to see the transformers and how the CTA works. Interior light will make the building glow at night.
A substation will convert AC power from ComEd to DC power which operates the CTA system. ComEd transformers will be placed in vaults below grade which will bring the power into the substation. A series of transformers and rectifiers will convert the power for use on the tracks. Cables come out of the substation near track level and are joined into the track.
With this approval, the project can move forward and is one step closer to construction. Permits have been filed for the construction of the project, but have yet to be issued. No official timeline has been announced.