LAKEVIEW — A 12-story building won't be popping up at the corner of Belmont Avenue and Clark Street, but a local business owner says a talk with the developer suggests the area could soon grow into an art and cafe community-focused spot.
Previous reports that BlitzLake Capital Partners plan to turn properties that it recently bought — buildings where Dunkin' Donuts and Taboo Tabou currently stand — into a tower as tall as 12-stories are not true, said Mitch Goltz of Chody Real Estate, who brokered the deal.
He declined to comment further. Multiple attempts to reach David Blitz, managing founder of BlitzLake, were not returned.
Mark Thomas, owner of businesses like Taboo Tabou and Blue Havana in the property BlitzLake purchased, said Blitz spoke with him about collaborations that could transform the busy corner into "the heart of Lakeview," with an "architecturally significant and beautiful" building, Thomas said.
The lease on Thomas' businesses run out in January, but the developers asked him to stay until development plans are finalized, he said. It is still unclear whether they would stay beyond that.
Thomas said he and developers talked about ideas like a cafe space, green roofs and art studios along the alley. Blitz also emphasized he plans on "carefully curating tenants" like local restaurants and retailers, just as he did at the building across the street, Thomas said.
The corner has long held empty storefronts. It's "blighted," Thomas said, but so far, he trusts BlitzLake to transform the area.
"I guess I'll be a little said when it's not the same Belmont corner that it is," Thomas said. "But I know it's not financially practical. I know it's time for the change."
Blitz told him the company "understands the community would never want a building of that size," Thomas said, and the two chatted about the neighborhood's reaction to The Out Hotel Chicago proposal.
Belmont Harbor Neighbor's board unanimously rejected the idea for an eight-story hotel on Halsted, saying the scale was too much for the neighborhood. Nearby residents also complained it would block natural light.
The property resides in the Hawthorne Neighbors district and borders both Triangle Neighbors and Central Lake View Neighbors. Any zoning changes must be approved by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th).