BUCKTOWN — An industrial building in Bucktown was recently sold to a real estate development firm who've put up a large "For Lease" sign, but so far there has been no indication of what might end up in the free-standing, one-story building a block from The 606.
The 4,400-square-foot building at 1860 N. Milwaukee Ave. was sold for $675,000 in late March to "1860 Milwaukee LLC." The entity is headed by Lance Chody, president of Chody Real Estate Corp., and principal Bart Friedman, state and county records show.
Friedman did not return a request for comment on plans for the building, nor did Meredith Oliver and Brendan Reedy, real estate agents with Cushman & Wakefield, whose online brochure calls the property "The Gemini Building," a nod to the building's prior owner, Gemini electronics.
Chody's list of clients include Starbucks, Wendy's, Chase Bank, according to its website.
In late April, the city issued a construction permit for a new roof to the building's new owners. But so far, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) said that's all he's heard about the building.
The Bucktown alderman refrained from weighing in on what type of business it should house.
"I think when it comes to retail like that, I prefer to let business do what it needs to do to thrive. If they can reuse that building, that's the best thing for us. No one has walked in and said it's going to be a Starbuck's or it's some other chain or franchise, and when they are, you have to be careful. I know some people, elected officials, like to say you can't allow certain business in, but you just can't do that," Waguespack said.
Paul Courtright, manager of the independently-owned Red & White wine shop, said he has tried to find out what could be going in there.
"We've called them dozens of times, they won't call back. We've found out nothing. It would be nice to see something like an Olivia's Market, an independent specialty neighborhood grocer there," Courtright said.
Adam England, a Bucktown resident who lives near the building, hopes for a business that is locally owned.
The 1800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue is populated by unique independently-owned shops and restaurants like Irazu, Ipsento 606, Odd Obsession Movies, Bow & Arrow Collection, The Stop Along pizza parlor, Red & White Wines, Karen Marie Salon, Zen Yoga Garage, Sight Optical, Chicago Teacher Store, Chi50 Fitness and a forthcoming tea shop.
England said he thought the online brochure for the building looked like it was "geared toward attracting a national brand rather than a local retailer."
Henry Cerdas, second-generation owner of Irazu, a Costa Rican restaurant, was more optimistic about the future of the free standing, one-story building directly across from Irazu. "Businesses attract business. It's going to increase traffic, it can only benefit us," Cerdas said.
Cerdas, whose family has operated Irazu at the corner of Oakley and Milwaukee avenues for 27 years, said that the building across the way has been empty for a few years.
"I would love a little boutique hotel there. We were even thinking it could be used for a big party catering room. With The 606, the new Aldi, the [new] apartments at Milwaukee and Western, this area is getting more walk-in foot traffic, it's safer," Cerdas said.