Vienna Beef putting $20M into Bucktown revival, return

Complex will include restaurant, retail and offices

Vienna Beef CEO Jim Bodman and the Vienna Beef factory in Bucktown
Vienna Beef CEO Jim Bodman and the Vienna Beef factory in Bucktown (Facebook, Vienna Beed, Getty)

Bucktown residents may want to get their buns ready, because Vienna Beef is moving back.

The iconic Chicago hot dog and sausage maker is revamping its former factory space at 2501 North Damen Avenue with a $20 million complex called Vienna Beef Plaza, Block Club reported. The site will feature a restaurant, factory store, offices, additional retail space for other companies and over 200 parking spaces.

The project marks Vienna Beef’s return to Bucktown three years after the company moved its headquarters to 2501 West Fulton Street in the Near West Side.

Vienna’s departure from the 40,000-square-foot warehouse building on Fulton follows that property’s former landlord, the local developer Dayton Street Partners, selling the asset to a venture of Brookfield Properties for $7.5 million a year ago.

Dayton Street spent $2.8 million to buy the property in 2018, and then brought in Vienna Beef on a lease. It’s unclear how Vienna’s exit from the Fulton Street asset will impact Brookfield, or if the owner has plans to further invest into redeveloping the property.

Vienna will gut the entire interior of the North Damen Avenue building, while leaving its exterior untouched with the exception of a new roof, Vienna Beef vice president Tom McGlade told the outlet. Construction is underway for the complex, which is slated to open in the spring of next year.

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The restaurant will be similar to a previous one that was housed in the former factory, offering a full line of Vienna Beef products. The company is also building a new outdoor space for customers to eat.

Vienna moved its manufacturing operations to the Bridgeport neighborhood on the city’s South Side in 2013, but kept its headquarters and a warehouse in Bucktown until moving its offices to the Fulton Street building.

Roughly 50 Vienna Beef employees are expected to occupy the offices by the end of the year. The property’s former warehouse will be converted into retail space, which could accommodate three to five stores and big-box companies. The retail portion could be open in early 2024, the outlet reported.

— Quinn Donoghue

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