LINCOLN PARK — Another child-centric business is preparing to open in the once nightlife-dominated portion of Lincoln Park near North Avenue and Weed Street.
"That area is becoming kid central," said Mike Fralin, a New York transplant who hopes to open Chicago's first Kidville childhood center by the end of the summer.
Fralin signed a 10-year lease at 1030 W. North Ave. for Kidville, which provides classes of all kinds for newborns through 6-year-olds.
"Instead of going to one place for art, one for music and one for dance, parents can take their kids to the same facility for all these different types of classes," Fralin said.
Kidville will fill the former Gymboree space on North Avenue, a spot Fralin said made the most sense for the city's first Kidville.
Fralin doesn't see that as an issue.
"Kidville can kind of become your second home," he said.
The Kidville franchise started in New York City, where Fralin and his wife lived from 2001 until moving to Chicago in summer 2011.
Their oldest daughter, who is now 5, took a bunch of classes at the Upper East Side Kidville, and the family was sold on the business, according to Mike Fralin.
"When we moved to Chicago, we were looking for a similar activity center for our son," he said.
Fralin hopes to have Kidville opened by fall at the latest.
"It’s always changing around here. You definitely see a lot of strollers around here," said Bethany Schreck, communications director at Bubbles Academy.
Bubbles has been in business in the area since 2003, but was mainly surrounded by the nightlife of the Weed Street District until the past few years when Whole Foods moved in and some of the nightclubs and bars moved out.
The Weed Street District has been whittled down to a few nightlife spots such as Joe's Bar and Nikki Nightclub.
"We all agreed Lincoln Park would be the best place to house the facility," Fralin said. "We think there's a need here in Chicago for one or a couple of these facilities, but I think the first should be in Lincoln Park."