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McDonald's Closes As Plans Move Ahead For Loyola 'L' Stop Upgrades

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The popular McDonald's Express adjacent to the Loyola Red Line 'L' stop has closed, as plans move ahead to upgrade the CTA station and redevelop the land around it.

As recently as earlier this week, the McDonald's at 6536 N. Sheridan Rd. was still booming. But the Rogers Park News community site reported Thursday that a sign had appeared in the window reading: "Thank you for your business. We are now closed. Please visit us at the Granville and Broadway McDonald's."

The exterior signage, including the iconic Golden Arches, had also come down.

The McDonald's franchise that had been located in the Sheridan Road building shares a common owner with location at Broadway and Granville Avenue mentioned on the sign, Rogers Park News reported.

Loyola University last year announced a plan calling for the demolition of the building that housed the shuttered McDonald's, which is located just to the north of the CTA station entrance. The building also houses a BMO Harris Bank branch.

Loyola is seeking to replace the building with an open plaza. An artist's rendering from April 2011 shows that the plaza would include a new entrance to the station built into the elevated embankment on which the trains run, and new building that juts out from the embankment.

The rendering shows building would be separated from Sheridan Road by a plaza with space for pedestrians and outdoor seating or dining.

No retail tenants for the new plaza have been announced, but McDonald's reportedly says it will not be returning to the site, according to community blogger Gerald Farinas.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced last July that federal funding had been geared toward upgrades at the Loyola station, located at the south end of the Rogers Park neighborhood.

Durbin last year announced $18.5 million – including $11 million in federal funding – that will be used to upgrade the "dilapidated" Loyola station and begin an environmental study on a broader extension and modernization of the Chicago Transit Authority's Red and Purple lines.

Durbin said at the time that the funds would be used for upgrades to the viaduct over Sheridan Road, a new station entrance, and a plaza to provide more space between pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

Loyola said in its news release that it planned to contribute an additional $2 million for the open plaza.

Upgrades are also planned elsewhere along the North Side stretch of the Red Line. Last fall, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans for a major upgrade to the once-glorious Wilson Red Line 'L' stop in Uptown, which will include new elevators and a rehab of the exterior.

Broader plans are also under discussion to renovate, or even completely rebuild, the old concrete embankment on which Red and Purple Line 'L' trains run from Wilson Avenue northward.

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