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Sedgwick Properties Betting on New Growth in Old Town

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Chicago-based Sedgwick Properties Development is wagering that Old Town will become a land of new opportunity after purchasing the lot at 301-313 W. North Avenue last January for $8.8 million -- considerably more than it is worth in its capacity as a parking lot. Based on the sale price, it is assumed that Sedgwick planned to redevelop the site or at the very least sit back and land-bank to take advantage of rising prices in the area. Photos from an anonymous reader tipped us off to the addition of new company-branded fencing around the site. This could suggest that that lot at the southwest corner of North and North Park may be poised for redevelopment sooner rather than later, further confirming the recent growth enjoyed by Chicago's real estate market.

If so, it is unclear if Sedgwick plans to build within the current site zoning of B3-5 Community Shopping District, which does allow for residential units above ground floor retail, or seek a zoning variance from 27th Ward Alderman Burnett. The property was previously held by the O'Brien family who own a number of Old Town properties including the building occupied by Le Pain Quotidien (formerly Boston Market) at North and Wells. As owner-operators of O'Brien's Bar and Grill at 1528 N. Wells, the family hopes to redevelop that site into a boutique hotel with a new O'Brien's restaurant anchoring its first floor commercial space. The North Avenue parking lot isn't the only Old Town location Sedgwick is preparing for future redevelopment. The group also acquired the lot at 1325 N. Wells in November for $4.5 million. Formerly home of Tiffiny Decorating Company, the lot on the southern edge of Old Town is currently zoned for office or industrial use.

·Why would a developer pay $9 million for an Old Town parking lot? [Crain's]
·Old Town site sells for $4.5 million [Crain's]
·Old Town archives [Curbed Chicago]