After weeks of rumors, sources officially confirmed the sale of the former LaSalle Bank Building at the corner of Lincoln, Belmont and Ashland avenues during Tuesday night’s West Lake View Neighbors meeting.
During conversations about the development, Frank Campise, CEO of JAB Real Estate Opportunity Funds, told the group that Target very recently purchased the building at 3201 N. Ashland Ave. Campise was most recently in the news for selling four Southport Avenue buildings for $13 million to investor L3 Capital.
“The property was purchased by Target Corp.,” he said. “They did in fact purchase the land.”
The news came as a surprise to some officials with the West Lake View Neighbors who told residents earlier in the meeting Target was in talks to occupy the space, and that an official lease could be signed later this month. Campise clarified, however, that the retail giant actually purchased the land with no plans of leasing.
“The old LaSalle building has gone through multiple planned developments in the past 10 or 20 years,” WLVN Board President Will DeMille said. “A lot of people like the Target. A lot of people are concerned about the Target being right in the gateway to Lake View and what that means for other businesses. There’s a general plus and minus, but the Alderman’s office is happy something is going in there to generate jobs.”
Target representatives, however, are remaining mum on the property acquisition. According to public relations representative Erika Winkles, the retailer's only new plans for Chicago are in Old Town near Goose Island.
"Chicago is a great market for Target, and we continue to pursue new opportunities to serve guests there," Winkles wrote in an email. "However, I don’t have any information to share about a potential store in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. I can confirm that Target has announced plans to open a new store in Chicago in October 2013, located on West Division and North Larrabee Streets."
The store planned for Division was one of 10 CityTargets announced in October.
DeMille said more specific details on the Lake View Target will be released soon, including residents’ issues with traffic and the impact it will have on the community. He says Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) is well aware of the concerns and is currently addressing them.
However, according to an anonymous source cited by the Roscoe View Journal, Target plans to avoid the need for neighborhood negotiations by building a store within the property’s current B1-3 zoning rights. That would mean a building basically three-stories tall. But because the source wasn’t listed, that remains to be rumor.
The site was formerly destined to be a $100 million mixed-use building with 130 new condos and 90,000-square-feet of commercial space, according to the Roscoe View Journal. After being approved for construction by the city council in March 2007, however, the collapsing market took its toll, putting the project by Centrum Properties on hold.