Another retail project in the works near Roosevelt Road

Another retail project in the works near Roosevelt Road
By: Alby Gallun

With one big retail development under construction near the Roosevelt Road shopping strip, Chicago-based investor JRG Capital Partners LLC plans another on a site across the street. A JRG venture paid $7.5 million earlier this month for the property at 1113 S. Jefferson St., immediately west of the Maxwell, a 230,000-square-foot shopping center being built by a venture including the Bond Cos., a Chicago-based developer, Cook County records show. JRG, headed by brothers Harry and Charles Huzenis, has hired a broker to seek retail tenants for a development on the site, currently home to a Marathon gas station and garage, said Cheri Grossman, the firm’s senior acquisitions officer.

Retail brokers often describe Roosevelt Road as a less mature Clybourn Corridor, a place
retailers want to be because of the high population densities — and income levels — of
surrounding neighborhoods. Whole Foods Market, Home Depot, Target and Best Buy all
have stores within a few blocks of JRG’s property, but a lot of retailers have yet to land in the neighborhood.

“I think there are plenty of guys that want to be in that corridor,” said Jason Gustaveson,
vice-president at Stone Real Estate Corp., a Chicago-based retail broker. “There’s nobody
down in the South Loop on Roosevelt who’s not doing well.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods, Burlington Coat Factory, T.J. Maxx and Pier 1 Imports have signed
leases at the Maxwell. The shopping center is expected to open next year.

“Once that opens, it will validate our site even more,” Ms. Grossman said. “It’s going to
bring more traffic to the area and that’s exactly what retailers want.”

JRG is still in the early stages of drawing up plans for the project but has hired broker Paul Bryant, principal at Mid-America Real Estate Corp., to market it to prospective tenants, she said. The 76,000-square-foot site is zoned for a building as big as 200,000 square feet, but JRG doesn’t plan anything that large. Depending on the response from retailers, the project could include one or multiple tenants, she said.


Though the property is a block off Roosevelt Road, retailers should be interested in it given their lack of choices on the shopping strip, said Steven Baer, principal at Metro Commercial Real Estate Inc., a Highland Park-based brokerage.

“It’s logical because there’s only so much space on Roosevelt Road and most of it has been
developed or redeveloped, so where do you go?” he said.

JRG has spent the past couple years buying underutilized urban properties that have
development potential but also generate income to cover carrying costs. Earlier this year, it paid $2.9 million for a South Loop parking lot, a possible site for a residential tower.

The firm will sell its properties to other developers for the right price. In November, a JRG venture sold a parking lot at 1223 W. Jackson Blvd. for $5.4 million to Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group, a Northbrook-based developer that plans apartments on the site, county records show. The JRG venture paid $2.5 million for the property in September 2011. JRG financed the Jefferson Street acquisition with a $3.75 million loan from PrivateBank & Trust Co., according to county records. The firm acquired the property from a venture led by Wayne Hannah Jr., a Dentons lawyer, that has owned the site since 1997, county records show. Mr. Hannah said the venture sold because some of his partners wanted to liquidate, and strong demand from investors made it a good time to sell.