WICKER PARK — An industrial building that has been vacant for several years is being gutted and remodeled, with large "condo quality" apartments and two retail storefronts in the works for a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue just south of the Bloomingdale Trail.
"A lot of families are interested in renting apartments," said Andy Ahitow, co-founder of Chicago Apartment Finders, who is handling the rental portion of the three-and four-bedroom units, which he described as "condo quality."
Ahitow said he hopes the dwellings will be available for rent before the end of the year, provided all goes well with obtaining permits.
About one block north of Wicker Park's Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection, the building at 1739-45 N. Milwaukee Ave is next to Aldi Foods and only a few hundred feet away from The Bloomingdale Trail's newest entry access park, part of the "606" system.
Tracing its roots to the early 1900s, the four-story building was initially owned by the J. Hollander Manufacturing Company. An oil filter company operated out of the building in the 1990s, according to an environmental report.
When asked about the building's unique green and white exterior, Ahitow said, "We are going to keep as much as we can. It has the original exterior, most of the inside is already gutted. We will be cleaning it out quite a bit."
Already zoned for mixed-used residential and commercial use, the building, which went on the market in September, was purchased for $2.1 million on Jan. 24 by Marc Realty Residential (MRR) Acquisition LLC, according to county records.
Formed in 2009, Marc Realty Residential is a partnership between executives from Marc Realty and Chicago Apartment Finders, who purchase "distressed and other residential properties, refurbishing them to condo quality and offering units at very competitive prices," according to their website.
Elsewhere on Milwaukee Avenue, Marc Residential Realty is bringing luxury condos and a storefront to another industrial building at 1665-67 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The firm also recently redeveloped an old envelope factory at 2040 W. North Ave. The Bucktown Athletic Club occupies the building's first two floors and Chicago Apartments Finders plans to rent out eight one- and two-bedroom apartments on the floors above the gym, Ahitow said.
For the current project, Ahitow said there will be eight apartments in the building at 1739-45 N. Milwaukee Ave. as well as eight underground parking spaces.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments will be 1,500 square-feet and rent for $4,000 per month while the four-bedroom, three-bathroom dwellings will be 2,300 square feet and rent for $5,000 per month, Ahitow said.
Ewan Dickson, who is handling the retail portion of the development, said a store and restaurant would be good possible tenants.
"It used to be if you were retail in Wicker Park and not on six corners [Milwaukee, Damen, North] you had a hard time surviving, but now retail is blowing up by Milwaukee and Division and even if you go as far as Milwaukee and California in Logan Square. Milwaukee in general is becoming a retail corridor," Dickson said.
The two available storefronts will offer a combined 5,000 square feet, along with a 1,600 square-foot basement. View the retail listing here.