Permit Review Committee Approves CTA Substation at 2023 W North Avenue in West Town

2023 W North Avenue. Rendering by Ross Barney Architects2023 W North Avenue. Rendering by Ross Barney Architects

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.

View of 2023 W North Avenue. Rendering by Ross Barney Architects

View of 2023 W North Avenue. Rendering by Ross Barney Architects

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.

Site Plan for 2023 W North Avenue. Drawing by Ross Barney Architects

Site Plan for 2023 W North Avenue. Drawing by Ross Barney Architects

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.

View of Proposed Mural Locations at 2023 W North Avenue. Rendering by Ross Barney Architects

View of Proposed Mural Locations at 2023 W North Avenue. Rendering by Ross Barney Architects

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.

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2 Comments on "Permit Review Committee Approves CTA Substation at 2023 W North Avenue in West Town"

  1. 2023 W North Ave is not in West Town… it’s the border of Wicker Park and Bucktown.

    • The official boundaries of West Town are the Chicago River to the east, the Union Pacific railroad tracks to the south, the former railroad tracks on Bloomingdale Avenue to the North, and an irregular western border to the west that includes the city park called Humboldt Park.
      Wicker Park and Bucktown are neighborhoods within the community area.

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