The Real Deal Chicago

Cedar Street lands $61M loan for 342-unit office-to-resi redevelopment in Uptown

The developer began gutting the building in April as part of its plan to bring more than 700 units to the neighborhood
By Alex Nitkin |
Research by Haru Coryne
December 06, 2018 04:00PM

Will Murphy, Marc Heffron and 5050 North Broadway

Cedar Street Companies secured a $61.3 million loan for its ongoing conversion of a 12-story Uptown office complex into 342-unit micro-apartments, the first phase of its plan to eventually bring more than 700 homes to the rapidly-changing neighborhood.

Bank OZK, formerly known as Bank of the Ozarks, provided the financing for the project at 5050 North Broadway, which looms over the busy street where it intersects with Winnemac Avenue near the Argyle CTA Red Line station.

Cedar Street secured a permit to begin the renovation in April, according to the city’s buildings department, which pegs the project’s estimated cost around $20 million. Since then it’s torn all the windows off the 50-year-old structure, formerly known as the Aon building, and begun installing a web of plumbing and ventilation hardware.

The developer has yet to announce any tenants for the building’s 28,000 feet of planned retail space, which is set to include a rooftop restaurant. Once the redevelopment is completed, Cedar Street plans to build two new seven-story buildings on the other side of Broadway, adding another 368 units.

It’s the largest single effort in a tidal wave of new apartment construction in Uptown, whose population shrank by 13 percent between 2000 and 2015, according to Census data. The neighborhood is also home to more federally-subsidized homes than any other part of the city, and the parade of market-rate development has kicked up a backlash among affordable housing advocates and some longtime residents who say they’re being priced out.

Farpoint Development is expected to get underway next summer on a $75 million effort to restore the historic Uptown Theater two blocks south of the Cedar Street project, and last week the owners of the famed Double Door music club announced it will reopen in a Cedar Street-owned building owned at Broadway and Wilson Avenue.

Cedar Street has focused the bulk of its post-recession efforts in Uptown. it acquired more than 20 buildings in the neighborhood between 2008 and 2013, filling many of them with tiny, upscale apartments and then selling the properties for a gain.

In 2016, the company sold six of its converted buildings in Uptown to New York-based CLK Properties for a combined $67 million.

Earlier this year, Cedar Street opened a 101-unit micro-apartment complex at the historic former Bush Temple building at 800 North Clark Street, and it moved forward with a planned 260-unit rehab on the Near West Side.

Representatives of Cedar Street did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.