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25 Apartments Coming to Sculptor's Wicker Warehouse After $5.8M Sale

By Alisa Hauser | November 17, 2015 8:41am
 A vintage building in Wicker Park at 1714-22 W. Division St.
A vintage building in Wicker Park at 1714-22 W. Division St.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK — Plans are under way to turn an industrial warehouse on Division Street into a four-story development offering 25 loft-style apartments anchored by a retail storefront.

A New York City-based company, Jenel Management, which owns many other Wicker Park buildings, bought the 28,300-square-foot timber loft warehouse at 1714-22 W. Division St., for $5.8 million in May, over two transactions in May and one in February, county records show.

As a proposed Transit-Oriented Development, there will be no parking built for residents.

Since 1988, Italian-born sculptor Giovanni "John" Desiderio Bucci operated Bucci Studios in the warehouse. Now that his building has been sold, the 81-year-old Bucci plans to relocate to Georgia with his significant other, Jeanne Guardalo, and open a smaller art studio there.

"He's worked very hard; he's down there [in Wicker Park] 7 days a week. Offers to buy the building have been coming in for a long time. We are leaving Illinois because we can't stand the winter," Guardalo said.

On Monday, Joseph Dushey, one of the four partners behind the Jenel Management entity called 1714 Division Owners LLC said that work on project is expected to begin "very soon and "it's going to be a beautiful product."

Dushey said no tenant has been tapped yet for the 6,500-square-foot storefront on the ground floor.

A "before" and "after" of 1714-22 W. Division St. [Dnainfo/Alisa Hauser (Before)/George Sorich (After)]

When asked what makes the project stand out, Dushey said the building has "an extreme amount of [sidewalk] frontage" and that the apartments planned will have very high ceilings.

"It's going to be one of the nicest residential buildings in Wicker Park," Dushey said of the transformations planned for the 107-year-old building.

Architect George Sorich said the scope of his work will include restoring the existing elevation, installing new windows and doing some brick work. Sorich has also designed a fourth floor that would be located on the existing roof but set back from the street, so the building's original facade is maintained.
"We're bringing the building back to the neighborhood," Sorich said.

Dushey did not have an estimate of what rents would start at but said that "top-of-the-line" finishes are planned.

The building mix will offer 14 one-bedroom apartments, ranging between 650 and 994 square feet; 6 studios, either 490 or 502 square feet; and five two-bedroom apartments, ranging between 876 and 994 square feet, according to a floor plan by Sorich.

While there won't be parking spots for cars, there will be spots for 25 bikes in the basement.  Because the property is around the corner from the CTA Division Blue Line "L" station, under the city's newly amended Transit-Oriented Development ordinance,  Jenel Management would not need to offer any car parking as long as alternatives such as bike parking or car sharing are offered onsite.

Ed Tamminga, chairman of the Wicker Park Committee's preservation and development subcommittee, said that members of the neighborhood group previously voted to give the developer an "upzone" to make the project viable.

That zoning change, from a B3-2 Community Shopping District to B3-3 status, was introduced to City Council in October and is expected to be voted on within the coming weeks.

"It's always been an intriguing building but never an eyesore," Tamminga said, adding, "We are happy the building will stay as-is and get renovated."

Sorich said that if everything goes as planned, work would begin this spring.

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