Milwaukee Avenue in Bucktown has a decidedly different character than its Wicker Park counterpart. There are more parking lots, strip malls, and vacant lots, but there are also a couple of new developments worth noting. Last year, developer Krzysztof Karbowski's plan to convert the 12-story Northwest Tower into a boutique hotel were scrapped when the building's owner was hit with a $4.5-million foreclosure suit. Karbowski had also planned to redevelop a few adjacent buildings north of Northwest Tower, on Milwaukee Ave, but those plans fell through also. Now, the Orthodox Jewish group Lubavitch Chabad is planning to redevelop the three-story building at 1632 N. Milwaukee to open a synagogue on the second floor and a residence for the rabbi on the third floor. As for the ground-floor retail space, the group hopes to attract a clothing retailer or art gallery. Realtor Andrew Glatz, who is affiliated with the group, says they've been approached by several restaurants, but that because of their beliefs, they wouldn't be able to lease the space to a non-kosher restaurant. Rehab work hasn't begun yet, but Glatz expects it to move forward later this year.
Just north of The Crotch, a construction fence and some scaffolding have been erected at 1611 N. Damen, where a surface parking lot will be replaced with a 10,900-square-foot commercial building containing a couple of single-story storefronts. Previous plans called for a larger, two-story building with parking, but the building has been scaled back. No word yet on who the tenants will be.
This building at 1739-45 N. Milwaukee doesn't exactly belong in the 'new developments' category, because it's been stalled for at least two years. Five Star Development sought to convert the building into eight lofts, but today the windowless building serves as a canvas for graffiti artists.
On the other side of the street, VLF Development is planning to build Green Park Eco Garage, a fully-automated "green" garage at 1868 N. Milwaukee. Several politicians were present for the well-publicized groundbreaking ceremony in December, but no dirt has been moved at the site so far.
· New Developments Along Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park (Part 1) [Curbed Chicago]
· Another "Eco-Friendly" Parking Garage Breaks Ground in Bucktown [Curbed Chicago]