River North’s Medinah Temple finds a new savior in Friedman Properties

The developer has bought back the historic building that it sold to Macy's in 2001
June 14, 2019 04:00PM

Albert Friedman and Medinah Temple at at 600 North Wabash Avenue (Credit: Naotake Murayama via Flickr)

Albert Friedman and Medinah Temple at at 600 North Wabash Avenue (Credit: Naotake Murayama via Flickr)

Friedman Properties helped save the Medinah Temple from the wrecking ball nearly 20 years ago. Now, the Chicago-based firm has bought the historic River North building.

This week Friedman paid around $25 million for the 140,000-square-foot temple at 600 North Wabash Avenue, which was owned by Macy’s and operated as a Bloomingdale’s furniture store, the Chicago Tribune reports.

In August, Macy’s announced it would move the furniture store into Bloomingdale’s department store at 900 North Michigan Avenue and that it would seek buyers for the Wabash Avenue building. The move put the historic structure’s future in limbo once again.

Friedman saved the former Shriners temple in 2001 by buying up the entire block and embarking on a massive $60 million redevelopment and historic preservation project. Receiving over $12 million in tax increment financing, Friedman restored the former temple and auditorium space. Friedman chairman and CEO Al Friedman then signed Macy’s to a 25-year ground lease for the property, according to the Tribune.

Bowing to pressures felt by the retail industry, Macy’s decided to consolidate it’s local Bloomingdale’s stores. Friedman himself said he is keeping his options open for new tenants, but told the Tribune that any new uses for the site should compliment the neighborhood’s mix of shops, galleries and restaurants.

A few blocks from the Medinah Temple, Friedman is working to redevelop the current site of a firehouse at 444 North Dearborn Street into a 29-story office building with a ground-floor fire house. The Tribune noted that Bloomingdale’s will occupy the Medinah Temple space until mid-2020. [Chicago Tribune]Joe Ward