LAKEVIEW — Fast-food joints could be replacing mom-and-pop shops under a new owner's plan to bring more chain restaurants to a busy local corner.
Mansoor Ahmed, an area real estate investor, bought the building at the corner of West Belmont Street and North Broadway Avenue for $5.5 million at the end of December with the idea of eventually leasing the spaces to food chains when the current leases run out in three or more years, he said.
The building, at 3174-3180 N. Broadway Ave., has six retail units currently leased by North Community Bank, Salad House, Lakeview Chiropractic and Massage, House of Hookah and Pedicute. But the space at 611 W. Belmont Ave., once leased by a hair salon called City Slickers City Kuts, is available.
"We’ll look for national tenants," Ahmed said. "Anything from Jimmy John's, down the road, or maybe a Panera."
The possible future retailers would be joining Chipotle across the street, at 1025 W. Belmont, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries a few storefronts down, at 3219 N. Broadway St. That's part of the reason Ahmed said he bought the building, and he hopes his potential additions will make the corner "interesting to folks."
"We're looking forward to it," he explained.
But new tenants aren't likely to come for quite some time, he noted. And even if he wanted a faster turnaround to fill the storefronts, he wouldn't be able to, said Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.
Big tenant changes require community input due to potential traffic issues, delivery needs and garbage needs, she explained. Belmont and Broadway is one of the busiest intersections in the neighborhood, with more than 26,000 people and 18,600 cars passing by each day, according to the chamber's numbers.
"There's going to have to be a real thought-out plan," Martino noted.
Mark Sloan, the chiropracter at 3178 N. Broadway Ave., was "flabbergasted" to hear of the sale and potential change in tenants. He's subleased his space from North Community Bank for the past three years and has another three years remaining.
He expected to be in the space for at least seven years to finish paying off a loan.
"Holy God, that is crazy," he said of the sale, when informed by DNAinfo.com Chicago.
"Someone pulling the rug from beneath your feet is a little unsettling at first," he added. "But I'm sure we'll be able to negotiate something that we can both benefit from."
Ahmed and his two brothers, who are co-investors, may be ones to watch for the way Lakeview looks in the future. The three plan on investing in more real estate in the neighborhood, Ahmed said.
That said, commercial properties in Lakeview don't go on sale often, said Jim Darrow, principal at Essex Realty Group, which brokered the deal. Ahmed had to beat out several interested investors, including national real estate companies, for the "trophy property, on a trophy corner," Darrow said.
"Properties in Lakeview really don’t turn hands that often," he said. "Especially properties like this."