Group wants to revive old Maxim’s on Gold Coast
BY DAVID ROEDER AND FRAN SPIELMAN Staff Reporters June 18, 2013 6:04PM
Updated: July 20, 2013 6:46AM
An intriguing partnership has emerged to buy from City Hall the basement of the 1300 N. Astor condo building, which might attract little interest were it not the long-ago home of the posh Maxim’s de Paris restaurant.
City officials said Tuesday that they have a deal to sell the 8,000-square-foot space to a group that wants to re-establish it as a gourmet restaurant. The sale was for $1.375 million, above the city’s $1.36 million asking price.
Buyers include Brendan Sodikoff, proprietor of Au Cheval, Gilt Bar and the Doughnut Vault, among other popular establishments. Sodikoff was schooled in Rich Melman’s test kitchen and investors lately have showered him with money to try various concepts.
His partners at Maxim’s are Ben Weprin, chief executive of AJ Capital Partners, and Jeffrey Shapack. AJ Capital has a hotel in Chicago and is working on three others, including a renovation of the former Chicago Athletic Association building at 12 S. Michigan. Shapack has finished projects on the Near North Side and is involved with AJ Capital in a Soho House hotel at 113 N. Green due in 2014.
None of the partners returned calls or emails Tuesday. Chicago magazine quoted Sodikoff online as promising a “classic vintage Maxim’s menu with today’s food standards” by early next year. The name they chose for their venture, Maxim’s Chicago Restaurant Partners LLC, shows a disposition to revive the glamor of yore.
Maxim’s was a fashionable night out for the upper crust of the 1960s and 1970s. It closed more than a quarter century ago, but it has been used for special events as the Nancy Goldberg International Center.
She was the wife of architect Bertrand Goldberg. Their heirs donated the property to the city in 2000. Because of its occasional use over the years, the richly appointed interior is said to be in good shape.
NO FORECLOSURE CLOSURE:
A report by the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing showed that foreclosures on apartment buildings in Chicago remained stubbornly high in 2012 while continuing to exact a toll on families.
The report showed that in 2012, foreclosure filings on apartment buildings had their smallest year-to-year decrease since the start of the housing crisis. While that could be read as a positive sign that banks have worked through the bad-loan backlog, the lawyers group points out that filings increased in Austin, Englewood, South Shore, Greater Grand Crossing and North and South Lawndale.
It said five banks or loan servicers — JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bank and Deutsche Bank — accounted for half the 4,346 new filings.
When rental housing goes into foreclosure, tenants can lose their homes through no fault of their own. The report said 50 percent of surveyed renters had to go somewhere else at higher rent, with children often being forced to switch schools.
Those with a mind to put up new office buildings downtown will find inspiration in the latest market report from MB Real Estate. The firm’s survey of 30 top buildings, “Class A” space in the lexicon, found that at mid-year, the direct vacancy rate stands at 10 percent, the lowest point in two years.
Hines Interests LP is building its River Point project at 444 W. Lake, due in 2016. The MB report builds a case for others jumping in to the market.
DOING THE DEALS: Urban Innovations said it spent $14 million to acquire two Greektown office buildings totaling 150,000 square feet. The adjacent buildings are at 833 W. Jackson and 322 S. Green. They are about 76 percent occupied. Tenants include CAN-TV and the University of Illinois. . . . Meridian Health Plan leased 19,000 square feet at 333 S. Wabash, tripling its space in a move from 222 N. La Salle. CBRE Group Inc. represented Meridian. . . . Real estate firm DTZ subleased two floors of the old United Airlines space at 77 W. Wacker and will move from 161 N. Clark in March 2014. . . . Cedar Street Co. said it spent $2.375 million to buy a 40-unit apartment building at 6134 N. Kenmore, which will become part of its Flats Chicago rental brand.
David Roeder reports on real estate at 6:22 p.m. Thursdays on WBBM-AM (780) and WBBM-FM (105.9). The reports are repeated at 10:22 p.m. Thursday and 7:22 a.m. Sunday.