Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Key Cog In The Revitalization Of Uptown"

The headline is a quote from Alfred Klairmont, who recently closed on on the purchase of the former Aon/Consolidated Insurance complex in the 5000 block of Broadway.

From today's Crain's Chicago Business:

(Crain's) — Combined Insurance Co. of America has sold its vacant former headquarters in Uptown for $5.1 million.
A venture backed by investor Alfred Klairmont paid all cash for the office complex at 5050 N. Broadway St. in a deal that closed March 31, property records show.

Mr. Klairmont is president of Imperial Realty Co., a Chicago-based firm better known for its sprawling portfolio of low-profile office buildings on the Northwest Side and northern suburbs. But the firm has undertaken bigger and riskier deals in recent months.

Mr. Klairmont is paying nearly $17 a square foot for the former Combined building, which totals 303,028 square feet.

“It's such a typical Klairmont buy,” observes Daniel Hyman, president of Chicago-based Millennium Properties R/E Inc., who wasn't involved in the transaction. “Al likes to buy a lot of building for a low price.”

The property is about two blocks south of Foster Avenue near the Chicago Transit Authority's Argyle train station, an area home to many Asian restaurants and grocery stores.

The centerpiece of the complex is the vacant headquarters structure, which actually consists of a 10-story building flanked by two six-story structures. But a key to the deal may be a 624-car parking garage across the street.

Mr. Klairmont says he plans to open up that structure for public parking to generate revenue while he studies his next move. He is considering a variety of options, including finding office tenants to converting a portion to student housing.

I see this piece as being a key cog in the revitalization of Uptown,” he says.

Read the rest of the article here.


  1. Perfect place for a or many businesses, good housing nearby and right by public transit and plenty of places to go to for lunch in the area.

    Im glad to hear they are thinking about something other than senior housing, i like seniors but we have a glut of senior housing in that area.

  2. I would love to see that parking garage opened up for the public.

    Could be a boon for the local businesses if patrons didn't have to jack around trying to find street parking.

  3. Agree with CLC - the whole area becomes a huge traffic jam weekends with crowds coming in to shop and eat. Parking in the surrounding area gets bad.

  4. CLC and Freddie, that's what he plans to do.
    "Mr. Klairmont says he plans to open up that structure for public parking to generate revenue while he studies his next move."

  5. My dad worked for Combined Insurance in the 1960s and was the person responsible for getting that parking structure built. I'll have to tell him now it's the key to the properties! He'll shake his head and say Uptown has gone crazy, but he'll secretly be very pleased.

    I've always thought Jam should buy it and run a shuttle bus to the Riv (and hopefully the Uptown, if it ever opens).

  6. TSN.. I might respectfully suggest lets work on getting JAM to take down the hideous diaper that has adorned both the Riviera and the Utpown for what I believe is more than two years now..

  7. I agree that it is important to find a use for this rather large facility, but I always thought the Uptown Theater was the "key cog." Would be great to find a use for both.

    Yes - at least get that parking garage open. That area needs it. Driving up Broadway through that area is a nightmare at times.

  8. The Uptown Theatre is not going to be renovated anytime soon. Nobody is going to put up the money for it! We need to look to smaller, more feasible options (like this parking garage being open to the public) that will bring in more business and traffic to Uptown. When we increase the small businesses and retail stores, and add appropriate infrastructure to support them( i.e. parking, better el station, bike lanes) we can start looking to the bigger things like the Uptown.

  9. I'd love to see public parking that would encourage more businesses to locate in the area. Perhaps a (partially city-subsidized) public garage can undercut the price of the meters on the street! That would make a lot of us happy.

    In places I have been/lived like Bethesda, MD and South Beach, Florida low-cost public parking garages have been key to attracting new businesses because customers can focus on enjoying a restaurant or shopping experience rather than on a worrisome and frustrating search for parking.

  10. I would hope that the building will continue to be used for offices rather than housing.

    1) Obviously, we have a housing glut already.
    2) Office use in daytime, means parking for entertainment and shoping at night and on weekends.
    3) Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. More than just temporary construction jobs please.

    Perhaps a technology center?

    And please no more senior housing. All that does is skew the demographics for age/income causing many business to not want to locate in this area.

  11. Let's hope that there will be something done here in the next 5 years. Otherwise it will be just another abandoned building.