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New plan for historic Lakeshore Athletic on Lake Shore Drive

Lakeshore Athletic Club 850 N. Lake Shore (lobby)

Lakeshore Athletic Club, 850 N. Lake Shore (lobby)

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Updated: February 24, 2013 6:37AM

The owner of the 1927 building at 850 N. Lake Shore Drive is back at it, working up a renovation plan for a building preservationists fought to save. The question becomes whether the work will ruin most of what made the building notable in the first place.

Sources said Northbrook-based Integrated Development Group LLC has begun interior demolition to convert the 19-story building into 200 apartments. The firm earlier wanted to fill the building with units for wealthy seniors, but demand for that sort of thing has withered.

Under the zoning code, Integrated has to provide parking. So it intends to convert the lower floors into decks for 200 spaces.

In 2007, there were threats to demolish the building, the former Lakeshore Athletic Club that catered to high society decades ago. But downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) stepped in to say he opposed razing it, calling it “steeped in Chicago history.” His decision forced the former owner, Northwestern University, to scrap a deal to sell it as a teardown for a taller project.

The building never got official status as a city landmark. The work by architect Jarvis Hunt was distinguished less by its façade than by its grand interior spaces and murals, and it’s not known how much of that can survive the project. Integrated’s president, Matthew Phillips, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

“Some of the best aspects of that building are going away,” said Lisa DiChiera, director of advocacy for Landmarks Illinois. The developer seeks no city help, so “there’s really no means for making a fuss,” she said.

COMCAST IS COMING: Cable operator Comcast Corp. is completing its move into the old Tellabs space at 1415 W. Diehl Rd. in Naperville. Comcast has 80,000 square feet there. Once it opens its center to monitor service to business customers nationwide, that space will be fully built out. A ribbon-cutting for the center is scheduled for Feb. 5.

A Comcast spokesman said substantial hiring still has to occur at the facility. He said about 170 jobs need to be filled. About 400 people will work at the location, including 70 that are being transferred from other Comcast offices, he said.

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Menards is moving its Melrose Park store to an old industrial site in the western suburb, and the deal shows just how complex a big property move can be.

The retailer bought 17 acres on the north side of North Avenue between Cornell and Hawthorne. Cushman & Wakefield Inc. Senior Director Larry Goldwasser and Associate Director Jay Maher represented four owners of the land parcels in the sales talks. Steven Tick, principal at Podolsky Northstar Corfac International, represented Menards.

The mix of industrial and office buildings will be demolished. Menards will build a 263,000-square-foot store that will be about 50 percent larger than its current location at 8311 W. North Ave.

The village also was involved and offered a sales-tax rebate deal similar to tax increment financing. The average monthly sales tax from the current store was established as a floor, and anything above that from the new site will be split between the village and Menards.

The village said existing companies at the new Menards site are staying in Melrose Park. But a large company that was there, Peerless Industries Inc., has moved to Aurora.

ARTS ON THE MOVE: PianoForte Studios, a piano store that does business in the Fine Arts Building at 408 S. Michigan, has purchased its own building. Represented by real estate broker DTZ, PianoForte bought an 11,000-square-foot, three-story building at 1335 S. Michigan. Property records show the building sold for $1.15 million. The store plans to be in the new space this summer.

Meanwhile, Intrigue Dance and Performing Arts Center leased 5,000 square feet at 1937 S. Archer and will triple its previous space at 1234 S. Michigan.
@properties Commercial brokered the seven-year lease for Intrigue.

GOVERNMENT WORK: Some real estate news from the local government beats:

♦ The city has proposed terms for helping Volunteers of America of Illinois build affordable housing for veterans and their families. Seventy-three units would be built in a campus style at the southwest corner of 60th and Halsted. City backing is coming in the form of tax credits, a $1.9 million loan and sales of 25 parcels for $1 each. It will be called Hope Manor II and is a follow-up to a project for veterans completed last year in Humboldt Park.

♦ The CTA sold a 275,000-square-foot former bus barn at 2600 W. Pershing for $1.6 million. The buyer was First American Properties LLC, whose principals Ronald Benach and Wayne Moretti are affiliated with Lexington Homes. They also operated self-storage properties. They could not be reached to discuss their plans.

♦ Another CTA deal showcased a desire to improve the fare sold at L stations. Wilmette catering company Butterfield Kitchen leased spots at the Roosevelt and Jefferson Park L stations, where it will offer quick-service organic meals. The 10-year leases bring the CTA $2,583 per month for Roosevelt and $3,041 per month for Jefferson Park, and have 3 percent annual escalators.

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.

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