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CPS putting surplus buildings up for sale

The former Goldsmith school10211 S. Crandis for sale. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

The former Goldsmith school,10211 S. Crandon, is for sale. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 2, 2012 6:20AM

While retailers are rolling out back-to-school sales, the Chicago Public Schools are planning a sale, too, except that it’s not about backpacks and blue jeans. It’s about real estate.

CPS wants to get rid of surplus property. Tim Cawley, chief administrative officer, said that Wednesday the system will issue a request for proposals from brokers interested in helping the system with the task. The request will be available at, and responses are due in 30 days.

The schools want to sell eight unused buildings, mostly former elementary schools that have been closed or relocated, two former schools now rented to churches, a South Side office building, a parking lot near the Edison Park Metra station and assorted vacant land.

Cawley said the entire batch might be worth $15 million, judging from appraisals. The market might have a different opinion. But he said the money spent on maintaining shuttered buildings could better be used on education.

“I wish we could have done this several months ago,” Cawley said, but administrators needed to make sure there was no future need for the buildings. “We didn’t want a case of seller’s remorse.”

Cawley said he’d like to see hard offers on some properties by year’s end. The empty schools, he said, are mostly “in poor condition. They would need significant investment.” Some could be torn down to make way for new construction, he suggested. But that could be a tall order for neighborhoods where private investment has been rare.

One exception could be the former Mulligan School at 1855 N. Sheffield in Lincoln Park. Cawley said the properties will be packaged into four groups to encourage offers on some of the more difficult sites. Brokers will be asked to submit marketing ideas for each group.

The other school buildings CPS wants to sell are at 3813 S. Dearborn; 7401 S. Chappell; 1540 W. 84th St.; 2317 W. 23rd St.; 6615 S. Kenwood; 10211 S. Crandon; 4421 S. State; 9101 S. Jeffery; and 115 W. 108th St. The parking lot is at 6739 Northwest Highway.

The office building is at 1234 W. 95th St. and is best known as where state Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) enjoyed a no-rent deal for years. CPS sued her for back rent but has been unable to collect.

PLAZA PROMENADE: A partnership that includes Chicago-based IBT Group LLC and Oak Brook-based Inland Real Estate Corp. has secured zoning and a subsidy from the city to turn vacant industrial land on the Southwest Side into a shopping center.

City agencies have approved a $10 million subsidy for the 10.5-acre site at the northwest corner of 42nd Street and Pulaski. In a $33.6 million project, the developers plan to put up 154,000 square feet for stores, most of it in a large building on the western edge of the property. Along busy Pulaski would be outlot buildings. Parking would accommodate more than 600 cars.

Marketing materials indicate commitments from Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls, Ross Dress for Less and Michaels to occupy the larger spaces. IBT President Gary Pachucki declined to comment.

The project would be called Pulaski Promenade. The name recalls the title IBT affixed to another deal, its ill-fated plan to replace the old Fannie May chocolate factory at 1137 W. Jackson with condos, stores and a movie theater. That one was called West Loop Promenade, and it couldn’t brook the real estate collapse. The property is becoming a new Target instead.

The Pulaski site is in the Stevenson Industrial Corridor. City officials opted to change the zoning to retail because the property has been vacant for years and is on the corridor’s fringe.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Plenty, as it turns out, if the name is Smith and the subject is real estate. Jason Smith, principal of Smith Capital Management and son of prominent Chicago architect Adrian Smith, is part of the team behind new outlot buildings that will add four retailers along the edge of Lincolnwood Town Center, 3333 W. Touhy in Lincolnwood.

The first one, the Vitamin Shoppe, has opened. Others to come are Chipotle, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Verizon Wireless. Smith said the economy made the deals a challenge “but the national players always are looking for well-located opportunities that make sense.”

David Roeder reports on real estate at 6:22 p.m. Thursdays on Newsradio 780 and 105.9 FM WBBM. The reports are repeated at 10:22 p.m. Thursday and 7:22 a.m. Sunday.

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