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Day Care Building On Damen Sells For $5.1M; Retail Or Restaurant Planned

By Alisa Hauser | December 1, 2016 5:16pm
 The North Avenue Day Nursery at 1530 N. Damen Ave.
1530 N. Damen Ave. in WIcker Park
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WICKER PARK — A vintage building at the southwest corner of Damen and Pierce — on a bustling stretch in Wicker Park that is across from Big Star — has been bought for $5.1 million, officials said Thursday.

The building at 1530-1532 N. Damen Ave. was sold to River North-based Northpond Partners, which is planning to preserve the two-story, 14,000 square-foot property and bring in a retail or commercial tenant or a restaurant, according to Northpond's Sam Ankin. It had been home to a day care, which will close soon.

"We are excited that we are not demolishing the building and we are also excited to announce plans after the first of the year. There will be some modifications to the building but the majority of the structure will remain," Ankin said.

Ankin said that the location of the building, just north of the CTA Blue Line station at 1558 N. Damen Ave., was a big draw, as well as "activity on Damen and in Bucktown and Wicker Park in general."

Currently, there are no rehab plans or tenants to announce, but Ankin said that there will definitely not be apartments or condos at the site.

"We are not residential developers. Our intent is to make it more retail friendly," Ankin said.

Ankin said that he had met with Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) and discussed the fact that One Off Hospitality, a group that owns three other restaurants on the 1500 block of North Damen Avenue, could be a good fit for operating in the building. On Thursday, Ankin confirmed that there had been no direct discussions with the prolific restaurant group, which runs Big Star.

Earlier this week, a One Off Hospitality spokeswoman said the company had no plans to open a restaurant in the building "but [is] excited to see what ultimately joins Big Star in the neighborhood."

The 112-year-old building went up for sale in July and was pitched in a brochure as a redevelopment opportunity or possible Transit-Oriented residential development due to its proximity to the CTA Damen "L" station.

Jon Morgan, a co-founder and managing principal at Interra Realty, along with Interra brokers David Goss and James Clough, handled the bids and represented the seller, nonprofit North Avenue Day Nursery, and the buyers, Northpond Partners.

“The highly competitive sale had more than 20 offers and the seller chose Northpond Partners since its proposed redevelopment will utilize the existing structure. The new owner plans an adaptive re-use of the distinctive property which was built in 1904,” Morgan said in a news release.

Elsewhere in the area, principals with Northpond Partners also own 1952 N. Damen Ave. in Bucktown, where Dixie restaurant is located. In that project, they also rehabbed a vintage building.

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