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From Lo-Fi to Hi-Fi: Touring the Bradley Business Center

A couple weeks ago there was big news in the signing of BrightFarms, a rooftop farming company, to a 10 year lease at Roscoe Village's Bradley Business Center. We wrote about that specifically, and it engendered in us an interest in the larger project of transforming the Bradley Business Center into a high-tech incubator. On Thursday, we got to drop by for a look at the raw warehouse space.

Formerly home to Bodine Electric Company, a manufacturer of small motors, the 355,000-square-foot office structure and attached warehouse (260,000 sf of leasable space) are now being marketed to small tech firms, and ones with a green bent where possible. The owner, Centrum Properties, has the space tentatively divided into seven rental units and seven for-sale units. The rental spaces are all in the neighborhood of 5,000 square feet (for the startup set) while the for-sale spaces run between 10,000 and 32,000 square feet. Apart from the spruced-up receiving area meant for first impressions, 2500 W Bradley Place is a barren, cavernous space. The pictures testify to that.

Michael McLean, VP of Centrum Properties, and Paul Lightfoot, CEO of Brightfarms, accompanied us on a trip to the roof of the office structure from where we gazed down on the acre of warehouse roof slated to host the farm op. Thanks to its location near the river and west of low-profile residential areas, the roof affords pretty decent city views as well as unabated exposure. According to Lightfoot, tomatoes and lettuces will be the predominant crops— most of which will be sold to a single supermarket.

Lastly, to make for a pampered creative environment, Centrum plans to establish an on-site cafe, "lifestyle" center, building-wide wi-fi, outdoor lounge spaces, and indoor parking. All spaces are build-to-suit. Per the rendering of the front entryway, some external changes are afoot. However, the building's midcentury minimalist credentials seem to be somewhat incorporated into the new. On the one hand, Bradley is just another office park. On the other, it's a pretty great location for a certain type of creative firm.
·Full-Blown Rooftop Farm to Plunk Down on North Side [Curbed Chicago]
·Farm planned for roof of North Side building [Crain's]