With many of the popular areas already developed in Chicago, developers run into certain challenges like; where can a new development be added in an already thriving neighborhood? Neighborhoods like the South Loop, River North, West Loop, and Bucktown/Wicker Park all seeing their fair share of new development, but how about Lincoln Park, which has been a premiere neighborhood along Chicago’s lakefront for years.
Where is a builder to build when vacant land is nonexistent?
Well, if you are Warren Baker, of Baker Development Corporation in Chicago, you could buy everyone out of an existing building and raze it to build a new high-rise.
According to ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com, Baker met with Wrightwood Neighbors Association on January 13, 2014 to propose his plan for the site and has already signed purchase agreements to buy out all the unit owners of the building at 2518-2540 N Lincoln Ave, known as Lincoln Centre. Baker is the currently the owner of the retail space in the building his opinion is that the building isn’t up to par when it comes to curbside appeal.
“People are ready to sell,” said Baker. “This is going to be a game-changer for turning around a street that has been in decline for so long.”
His plan is to erect a 225 unit luxury rental building with a parking garage for 200 cars, and 16,000 square feet of retail space. His goal in the new retail space would be to revitalizing the strip by providing new, modern space. 50 spaces in the garage would be reserved for retail patrons, hopefully making it more accessible for consumers.
Gary Wigoda, head of planning for Baker Development stated that many of the neighbors have expressed their dislike of the building. Their biggest concern was the size and architecture of a new development.
Wigoda continued by saying, “I don’t know anyone who likes that building. Everyone seems to think that particular building does hurt Lincoln Avenue.”
James Haft, another local developer said, “I don't know how you pull that off and do that at a price that makes any sense. It's got to be enormously expensive.”
Coincidentally, Baker has yet to secure an estimated $80 million in construction financing and get the zoning approval. However the most impressive part of all this is the initiative taken to buyout all the condo owners ahead of time.