SOUTHPORT CORRIDOR — For those wondering what's going on behind that scaffolding at Southport and Newport, Capital One has a few answers.
The bank shared plans for the Capital One Cafe coming to 3435 N. Southport Ave., which is expected to open in May or June.
Renderings presented at Monday's meeting of West Lakeview Neighbors depict gray brick and a restructured facade anchored by large windows looking into both floors of the bank-cafe hybrid.
The bank also hopes to add sidewalk cafes along both streets, with plans to beautify the intersection with two new trees on Newport and four new planters.
Capital One first announced plans for two more Chicago cafes in July. It expects to open in Lincoln Park's New City complex in January, four years after it rebranded its first Capital One Cafe at 21 E. Chestnut St.
The bank aims to make financial planning "as easy as a cup of coffee, the way you start your day," said business director Justin Evans. As with the Gold Coast location, banking "ambassadors" are on hand to help cafe customers learn about financial options, whether they're with Capital One or not.
Capital One has started renovations at Southport and Newport. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
Those with Capital One cards will get 50 percent off beverages at the cafe, which will be stocked with drinks and pastries from Peet's Coffee. There are also workshops on topics like investing, group events and space available for community and non-profit groups.
The company is proud of the work going into the renovated facade and the restored infrastructure of the building, Evans said.
"We take pride in making sure our design fits with the community," Evans said.
Since first discussing plans with neighbors, Evans said the company has moved its trash and recycling to a gated area off the alley at the east end of the building, where Newport Bar and Grill used to be. The cafe is also replacing Indira Aveda salon, which moved a couple blocks south to 3337 N. Southport Ave.
The 7,500-square-foot Capital One Cafe will have two outside ATMs, with one housed in a vestibule with 24-hour access on the Southport Avenue side. The banking cafe itself will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, with condensed hours from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.
Capital One Cafe hopes to have outdoor cafes on both Southport and Newport when it opens in mid 2017. [Provided/Capital One Cafe]
The first floor of Capital One Cafe will seat about 50 people. [Provided/Capital One Cafe]
The cafe will seat about 100 people, with about half arranged in tables of two, four and six on the ground floor along with several along window counters. In the back, a multi-functional flex space has several small meeting rooms and closed-off nooks for customers who want to discuss banking in a more private setting.
The second floor opens up to the first and has several office nooks and additional cafe seating.
The second floor of Capital One Cafe will open up to the first floor in a mezzanine style, with large windows looking out on the street. [Provided/Capital One Cafe]
While some businesses were initially wary of a large bank that could "zap the energy of a more vibrant retail district" along Southport, the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce is "Looking forward to working with [Capital One] to find ways to support our local retailers," executive director Lee Crandell said.
At first, the chamber opposed plans for the cafe on the grounds that it would require a special-use permit to open a bank within 600 feet of another bank or ATM facility along a designated pedestrian street.
But as the bank was able to proceed without the permit, Crandell said "we plan to do what we can to help them succeed and contribute to the street's success."
The cafe will join fellow Southport Corridor corporate newcomer Amazon Books in replacing longtime bars Mystic Celt and Newport Bar & Grill. Amazon will open its first Chicago brick-and-mortar bookstore next year.
Interior renovations for Amazon Books are expected to cost $1 million, according to city permits filed Oct. 26. So far, Capital One Cafe has only been issued a permit to demolish the interior of the two-story structure, at an estimated cost of $250,000.
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