The nonprofit Anixter Center has sold one of the largest available parcels near the planned Lincoln Yards megadevelopment on the North Side for $15 million.
The property at 2032 N. Clybourn Ave. includes a 150,000-square-foot warehouse. The buyer, an affiliate of Interra Realty, plans to convert the building to housing.
Jon Morgan, managing principal at Interra, said the proximity of Lincoln Yards was important to the transaction, but added, “This is already a great neighborhood. This is Lincoln Park and Bucktown to us.”
He said that over the next 18 months he plans to convert the building, which dates from 1913, into 136 apartments with about 10,000 square feet of commercial space, including a food hall. In keeping with city ordinance, the project would generate 28 units at reduced rents based on income limits, half within the building and the rest funded off-site, Morgan said.
His plan requires a zoning change from the property’s industrial classification, but Morgan said he’s gotten positive feedback for his plans from Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) and community members. Hopkins, whose ward includes the property, did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Morgan and Dirk Riekse, managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, confirmed the purchase price. Riekse was part of a Cushman team that represented Anixter in the sale.
Anixter serves people with disabilities. It vacated the building just prior to the sale’s closing on Sept. 15, Riekse said.
Rebecca Clark, Anixter’s CEO, said the proceeds will help the organization continue its transition to serving disabled people in smaller settings as opposed to a warehouse. The group has offices and programs in Rogers Park and Ravenswood and supports homes for the disabled on the North Side. Clark said Anixter served about 2,000 people annually, of which 500 receive intense services.
Riekse said the Clybourn warehouse has “good bones” and occupies 2 acres that include parking. Despite a process slowed by COVID-19, the property drew interest from several bidders, he said. “We chose Interra because they had a great plan and a great team,” Riekse said.
Morgan said his own firm’s research shows the building was designed by a famous Chicago architect, Alfred Alschuler, with other architects responsible for additions over the years. He said it was built for the Ludlow Typograph Co. and had an important role in Chicago’s printing industry.
Clark said the building later was a factory for piano benches. “If those walls could talk,” she said.
Morgan said his renovation will preserve the Prairie School design while adding conveniences such as a roof deck, fitness center and coworking space for tenants.
He said his project would be similar to a warehouse-to-residential conversion Interra has completed at 2061 N. Southport Ave.
The Clybourn building’s parking lot backs right up to the Lincoln Yards site, developer Sterling Bay’s planned mixed-use development. Lincoln Yards would cover 53 acres along either bank of the Chicago River’s North Branch from roughly North to Webster avenues.
While the proposed $6 billion project on old industrial land has city zoning approval, financing and construction will take many years.