“Show us a scrapyard and we will show you an opportunity” is one of our favorite sayings, always striking a chord with us with its concise and inherent truth. OK, so this is clearly not a saying, but at the NW corner of N. American & Berks, it could be! We brought you to this site back in 2018 when Morris Iron & Steel closed its doors, seemingly clearing the way for a future project of some variety. However, when you go by the site today, the huge property that runs from N. American to 3rd St. and Berks to Norris St. sits fenced and overgrown.

A look at 265 W. Berks today
Peering through the fence at the overgrown lot
An aerial shot looking east towards the river shows off the massive property

Things may not look this way in the future, at least if conceptual plans being marketed for the property end up coming to life. This property sold for $2.45 million back in 2019, and given its ICMX zoning, that seemed like an appropriate number. Things have changed quite a bit from a development standpoint in the immediate area, with the current owners looking to cash in, as the price for the site has ballooned to just under $15 million, approximately six times the amount of the recent sale.

A rendering of a five-story building, seemingly with apartments over ground-level retail

Now dubbed American Commons for sales purposes, this is being pitched as a residential development site, though it would need to go through the Zoning Board of Adjustments in order to get the go-ahead for a residential project. Additionally, the newly adopted N. American Street overlay also complicates matters for any future owners, as additional stipulations are now required for anything residential. As such, we highly doubt we see any willing takers at this price tag, even with all of the exciting action close by.

One such site is the NE corner of the same intersection, which is also fenced and overgrown currently. There has also been a residential proposal here in the past, though there has not been any major movement as of late, in spite of the “for sale” sign currently stating its case.

The NE corner of the intersection, also overgrown and available
A look at what the future could look like here

Just to the south on N. American St., two other projects we checked out in June have made major progress. These two mixed-use projects will bring nearly 300 units and commercial space. Both of these are topped out and looking good, with the southern building already welcoming residents according to its sign.

Lots of progress and new residents coming along to the south
A rendering of 1775 N. Amercian to the north
1701 N. American to the south

Whether or not the two empty properties become big projects, the changes in this area are undeniable. Walking along Berks towards the El from here feels quite a bit different today than it did years back, with residents and activity happening where there was plenty of vacancy previously. And with other projects on tap close by, we will surely see this area continue to evolve in the near future.