Svigos Asset Management, a Buffalo Grove based real estate firm, filed three separate zoning applications that seek to turn shuttered CPS schools into residential buildings. Since closing nearly 50 public schools in 2013 as part of a cost saving measure, the Board of Education has been issuing public bid requests for some of those vacant school buildings.

Since then, Svigos purchased Lyman Trumbull Elementary School in Andersonville for $5.25 million, and two West Town schools, Near North Elementary and Peabody Elementary, for $5.1 million and $3.5 million, respectively. 

Peabody Elementary School was the the first school the Board sold as part of the repurposing process developed by Mayor Emanuel’s Advisory Committee for School Repurposing and Community development. Svigos bought the building for $3.5 million in October 2014. Svigos will renovate the building’s interior to accommodate 23 residential units.

Near North Elementary, a former special education school, was Svigos’ second acquisition. The Board of Education approved the sale of the building on 739 N. Ada St. for $5.1 million at their July 22, 2015 meeting, on the condition that Svigos apply for landmark status of the building and maintain the exterior facade and building structure. According to the application Svigos filed, the school building will be converted into a four-story residential building with 30 units and 16 indoor parking spaces. Plans also include construction of an adjacent four-story residential building.

Svigos also filed an application to convert the former Lyman Trumbull Elementary School in Andersonville into a residential building and community theater for kids. The Board approved the sale at their September 29th meeting. The building was appraised at $4.1- $4.7 million by KMD Valuation Group. Svigos submitted the highest bid, $5.25 million, beating the second highest bidder, the Chicago Waldorf school, by $50,000. Plans call for a complete interior renovation of the existing building, which includes rehabbing the existing theater, located on the ground floor, and adding 49 residential units on the top three floors. Over a hundred parking spaces will be provided on site: 69 spaces for theater goers, and 40 for tenants.

Other Items On the Agenda

  • The official appointment of David Reifman as the new Commissioner for the Department of Planning and Development. He has been serving as acting commissioner since August, when Mayor Emanuel announced former Commissioner Andrew Mooney was retiring. Reifman comes from well-known zoning law firm, DLA Piper.
  • 2nd Ward (O2015-6415) An application to demolish a hair salon that First Lady Michelle Obama used to frequent when she lived in Chicago. The Van Cleef Hair Studio on 56 W. Huron would be replaced with an 11-story, 11-unit residential building. Property owner Michael Flowers, Obama’s hair stylist, put the building up for sale in 2010, according to Chicago Magazine. Joseph Kiferbaum, with Adama Associates, filed the zoning application so that he could build taller than is currently allowed under the existing designation.
  • 45th Ward (O2015-6397) Loukas Development is behind a proposal to build an 8-story mixed-use development near Sheridan Red Line stop. Developers want to demolish the existing 3-story vintage building on the 3900 block of North Sheridan Road and replace it with a 54 dwelling unit residential building that will also include 3,100 square feet of commercial retail space and 27 parking spaces. The original proposal called for 60 units and 24 parking spaces, but, according to DNAinfo, members of East Lakeview Neighborsexpressed density and traffic concerns.  Developers made significant changes to the architectural style of the building. Originally calling for a modern-style structure with floor to ceiling windows and thin, metal paneling–a stark contrast from the existing brick building–the architect significantly changed the building design. Loukas Development is affiliated with George Loukas, owner of the Cubby Bear and Sports Corner bars and rooftop buildings that overlook Wrigley Field.
  • 33rd Ward (O2015-6422) Dorel Ardelean wants to build three condominium buildings in Avondale. Intending to build the residential complex in phases, Ardelean filed an application for the first building, which he wants to construct on an irregularly shaped vacant lot on the corner of Belmont and Elston Avenues (2854 W. Belmont Ave). Plans call for a three-story condominium with 9 residential units and basement, and detached garages, at the back of the building, with enough space for 12 cars. According to the application Ardelean filed with Ald. Deb Mell’s office, the full plan calls for two additional three-story, six-unit buildings. According to DNAinfo, residents were disappointed that none of the buildings will contain retail.
  • 27th Ward (#02015-6359) Taris Real Estate is behind a plan to build another luxury high rise condominium on the corner of West Washington Boulevard and North Peoria Street in the West Loop (900 W. Washington Blvd.). The application the developer filed with the City asks for a zoning change of the existing property, currently home to a one-story office building. Taris will demolish the existing building and construct a 10 story modern-style residential building with 24-units and two duplex penthouse suites with “expansive skyline views of downtown,” according to the architectural firmNorthworks. The building will have a mix of two- three- and four- room apartments, and garage parking with enough space for 24 cars (more information).