Chicago Real Estate Daily
(Crain’s) — A little-known developer has partnered with the owner of the Aragon Ballroom and struck a deal with a small movie theater company for his proposed residential and retail development across the street from the legendary concert hall.
James Gouskos, owner of Lawrence Properties LLC, joined with Aragon owner Luis Rossi to buy a vacant site at 1063 W. Lawrence Ave. for a building that would house a nine- or 10-screen movie theater, a 500-car parking garage and 85,000 square feet of retail space. Messrs. Gouskos and Rossi paid $4.6 million for the property earlier this month.
Rendering by Perkins Pryde Kennedy + Steevensz Architects Ltd. of the Theater District Lofts, a proposed condo tower in Uptown.
Mr. Gouskos also is still working on plans for a 21-story condominium tower at 4738-50 N. Winthrop Ave., just south of the proposed retail/parking building. The condo tower would have 131 condominiums, four levels of parking and a swimming pool.
“This neighborhood is on a good track,” Mr. Gouskos says.
The residential tower would cost $35 million and the retail/parking building $20 million, says Mr. Gouskos, who is seeking tax-increment financing funds for the retail/parking building. He says he’s close to getting the necessary city approvals to build, and that he hopes to break ground in three to four months.
Mr. Gouskos has tapped Glenview-based Kudan Group to market the retail space. Kudan principal Jeremy Kudan says he’s targeting grocery stores, health clubs and restaurants.
The location should be good for a movie theater, says Barry Schain, a broker and principal with Chicago-based Next Realty LLC who specializes in movie deals. The challenges will come from the difficulty and cost of putting theaters in a multi-story building and providing free or low-cost parking to moviegoers, says Mr. Schain, who is not involved in the project.
“I love that area for a theater,” he says. “I just question the economics and the parking.”
In 2006, Kerasotes ShowPlace Theatres LLC dropped its plan for a 12-screen movie theater as part of the nearby Wilson Yard project, in part because of the high cost of building the necessary multi-level parking garage.