“A team of real estate developers that recently converted an old industrial building into apartments next to the planned Lincoln Yards campus on the city’s North Side have purchased a building a block away where they plan a similar residential conversion.
“A venture led by Interra Realty co-founder Jon Morgan and Moline, Ill.-based Heart of America Group paid nearly $15 million for the 140,000-square-foot former Lincoln Park headquarters of Chicago nonprofit Anixter Center at 2032 N. Clybourn Ave., the buyers confirmed. The venture bought the property and a 35,000-square-foot parking lot next to it from Anixter, a 102-year-old operation that offers programming for the developmentally disabled.
“The purchase is a bet on the future transformation of the North Branch between Lincoln Park and Bucktown, which developer Sterling Bay aims to turn into Lincoln Yards, a $6 billion, 55-acre campus of offices, apartments and other uses situated among some of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods.
“Heart of America Group founder Mike Whalen said the buyers plan to turn the building into 136 apartments and include other commercial uses, such as a food hall.
“With Lincoln Yards in the works, ‘That’s going to be a powerful area over the next 10 to 15 years,’ Whalen said, noting his group and Morgan have had plenty of success leasing up Southport Lofts, a four-story building their group redeveloped into apartments and completed last year. Morgan, who leads Chicago-based commercial real estate brokerage Interra, was not immediately available to comment.
“The plan for the building has made a good first impression with neighborhood groups, said 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins, who prioritized that the existing building—made up of several connected three- and four-story buildings—be preserved. He praised the plan to reuse the structure and noted the significance of a developer planning a residential project ‘in the plume of General Iron,’ the controversial scrap metal recycler that ceased operations at the end of 2020 just steps from the Anixter Center building.
“Anixter originally listed the now-vacant property for sale in 2017 after the city opened up to new commercial uses a 760-acre stretch of historically industrial land along the North Branch of the Chicago River. Developers like Sterling Bay were snapping up properties at the time to redevelop the gritty corridor.” (Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 9/23/21)
Apartments planned next to Lincoln Yards; The team that recently converted a former industrial building next to Sterling Bay’s planned megaproject hopes to replicate that success with a 136-unit project a block away, Danny Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 9/23/21