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Altschool Wins Zoning Approval, Opening 1st City Location in Lincoln Park

By Mina Bloom | November 24, 2015 5:41am | Updated on November 24, 2015 9:16am

(from left) A rendering of the small private school. [Courtesy/Centrum Partners]. It will replace The Edge Bar and Grill, 2720 N. Clark St. [Google Maps]

LINCOLN PARK — It's official: San Francisco-based Altschool is expanding to Chicago — more specifically, it's coming to a site currently occupied by The Edge Bar and Grill

A proposal to build a small private school with ground-level retail at 2720 N. Clark St. won key zoning approval Friday from the city's zoning board of appeals, according to Ald. Michele Smith's 43rd Ward office.

Altschool and its partner on the project, Chicago-based developer Centrum Partners, are aiming to begin construction in the spring, according to Rich Klawiter, Centrum's zoning attorney. But it is unclear when The Edge Bar and Grill will close. The first full school year will begin in fall 2017, he said. 

Kathy Guzman, owner of The Edge Bar and Grill, told DNAinfo Chicago that while she "very much appreciates Lincoln Park" and her clientele over the last four years, she thinks building the school is a good idea. 

"A school is going to be much more feasible for the area. There's a lot of children here now. It's changed a lot over the last four years since we opened," she said, adding that she hopes to find a new location for her restaurant.

Guzman deferred all further questions to her attorney, Steve Venit, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

Before The Edge Bar and Grill moved in, the Clark Street site was home to a Golden Nugget diner. Entities associated with the Howard Quam family have owned the property since at least 1988, city records show.

Altschool will lease the space from Centrum Partners. The "micro-school" will enroll about 100-150 students, with an annual tuition of $25,000. There's no word yet on which retailers will be moving into the ground level, though John McLinden with Centrum Partners did promise "a step above" what's currently on Clark Street.

McLinden did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday.

At the second community meeting to discuss the proposal, some residents raised traffic concerns, while others welcomed the development. 

Altschool is a for-profit school system that uses technology to tailor student learning. The new Chicago outpost will join Altschool locations in New York City, San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif.

The Lincoln Park location will begin accepting applications in September 2017.

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