Miami developer plans to convert Galewood warehouse into commercial space

Lionheart Capital is seeking a zoning change to open up its “White Cap Lofts” property to other commercial uses

Lionheart Capital Partner Allison Greenfield and the White Cap Lofts
Lionheart Capital Partner Allison Greenfield and the White Cap Lofts

A Miami-based developer is bucking the trend for industrial properties in the Chicago market, looking to convert a warehouse on the near Northwest Side into other commercial uses.

Lionheart Capital applied for a zoning change for a warehouse complex at 1812 North Central Avenue/1819 North Major Avenue, according to city records.

The firm is asking to have the zoning designation changed from one allowing light manufacturing to one that also allows other commercial uses.

A Lionheart spokesperson said the firm’s plans for the property are still being finalized.

“We are still exploring all possible uses for this exciting project,” she said in a statement. “The rezoning is for general commercial use.”

The Lionheart website lists the “White Cap Lofts” complex among the firm’s properties, but does not specify what the building could be used for. It says the assemblage of two- and seven-story buildings is just eight miles from Downtown and “is surrounded by 1.3 million residences in a 5-mile radius.”

The property gets its name from its former occupant, the White Cap Bottle Company, “where ‘side-seal’ metal cap(s) were revolutionized,” according to the website.

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Lionheart bought the property in 2017 for $1.1 million, Cook County records show.

The firm describes itself as a “global real estate development and capital investment firm engaged in acquisitions, development and repositioning of residential and commercial properties.”

Its rezoning application says the firm plans extensive renovations on the complex, but does not specify any height or footprint expansions. The total project area is 282,000 square feet.

The property sits in the Armitage Industrial Corridor, a narrow band stretching west from Cicero Avenue along railroad tracks to near the city’s western border. Lionheart’s facility is in a tight cluster of industrial buildings near the Hanson Park station on Metra’s Milwaukee District/West Line.

With industrial vacancy rates at an 18-year low, developers have been scrambling to build new facilities to keep up with rising demand and investors have been pushing up prices as they try to get a piece of the action.

In particular demand are so-called “last mile” facilities just like Lionheart’s complex: Industrial properties that are close to the city center, rather than in far-flung suburbs, that can help e-commerce tenants speed deliveries to the city.

Lionheart submitted its rezoning application late last month. A Zoning Committee hearing on the matter has not yet been scheduled.