UPTOWN — A developer with plans to erect a six-story apartment building in Uptown's Buena Park area hopes to woo gourmet-to-go restaurant Real Kitchen Chicago as as a ground-level tenant.
Developer Michael Breheny of Contemporary Concepts said his company just finished a development at 3301 N. Sheffield in Lakeview, and convinced the owner of Real Kitchen in Uptown to open a second location there.
He wants the restaurant to open a third location at 4027 N. Broadway, where Contemporary Concepts has proposed a 20-unit apartment complex to replace Ace Furniture Store, slated to close later this year.
Breheny said he's a big fan of Real Kitchen's grab-and-go concept, which features gourmet sandwiches, deserts and fine-dining quality entrees for take-out, as well as a small cafe.
"I'm trying to convince the Real Kitchen guys to come in," Breheny said. "We'd really love to see something like that — that's a unique concept."
Real Kitchen's owners didn't immediately return messages. It wasn't clear as of Thursday how receptive the restaurant was to the idea, but owners indicated earlier this spring they hoped to expand throughout Chicago and the suburbs.
If Real Kitchen doesn't work out, Breheny said another grab-and-go concept or a coffee shop could still align with his vision for the $5.5 million project.
That vision has been tweaked some this month following several meetings with the Buena Park Neighbors Association, whose biggest initial complaint was that the building lacked retail space.
Breheny said he had to reduce the number of units and internal parking spaces in the proposal to make room for 700 square feet of retail space.
More space could be freed up, said Breheny, who said "we're hoping to get that closer to 900."
The retail space should provide "a more pedestrian-friendly environment," Breheny said. The mixed-use project, which is still being hashed out, would offer market-rate rents starting at $1,500 for a one-bedroom apartment, according to the developer.
Breheny showed DNAinfo Chicago an updated rendering Thursday that shows a six-story building with a brick, glass and steal facade and ground-floor retail space.
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