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City's Oldest Fish Wholesaler To Move Out To Make Way For Retail Project

By Stephanie Lulay | October 12, 2016 5:47pm
 R2 Companies has bought the Isaacson and Stein Fish Company site at Fulton and Halsted and plans to redevelop the buildings into retail space.
R2 Companies has bought the Isaacson and Stein Fish Company site at Fulton and Halsted and plans to redevelop the buildings into retail space.
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R2 Companies

FULTON MARKET — The city's oldest fresh fish wholesaler has sold its buildings at Fulton and Halsted in Fulton Market, making way for retail at the high-profile site. 

Isaacson and Stein Fish Company, a fish market open to the public, sold two connected buildings at 800-810 W. Fulton Market to R2 Companies, a West Loop development firm. The $9 million sale was finalized Sept. 30, confirmed Matt Garrison, R2 principal. 

R2 Companies plans to restore the four-story brick-and-beam building at 810 W. Fulton and will tear down the two-story building that now serves as the fish market at the northwest corner of the intersection and put up a new building on the site, Garrison said Wednesday. The two buildings are located steps from the Fulton Market District gateway sign. 

The fish market will move out at the end of the year, when construction is slated to begin, Garrison said. In its place, R2 is courting "Class A" retailers interested in a landing their flagship location in red-hot Fulton Market. 

"We're talking to the top 100 retail brands in the world," Garrison said. 

It is unknown whether Isaacson and Stein owners plan to move the business to a new location at the end of the year or will close up shop. On Tuesday, an employee at Isaacson and Stein declined to comment on the deal. On Wednesday, Isaacson's owner Sherwin Willner was not available at the store and other employees declined comment. 

Isaacson and Stein Fish Company sold two connected buildings at 800-810 W. Fulton Market to a West Loop developer. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

Founded by Lou Isaacson and Willie and Ike Stein, Isaacson and Stein Fish Co. has been located at the same location for more than 80 years, and was bought by Ben Willner and Milton Block in 1958, according to the company's website. The company is the oldest fresh fish wholesaler in Chicago, according to owners. 

While the company used to get fish via train shipments, all fish now comes daily via air shipments. The store goes through 10 tons of fish each week, its website says, including from Greece, Brazil, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and all over the Atlantic Ocean.

R2 will not need a zoning change to move forward with current plans and the buildings are located outside of the Fulton-Randolph Market Landmark District boundaries.  

R2 Companies also plans to redevelop 800 W. Washington Blvd. and working to rehab a building at 1210 W. Lake St. that could call famous architect Helmut Jahn a future tenant.

Salmon and other fish for sale at Isaacson and Stein. [Flickr/Swallowtailed]

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