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CHICAGO-Joshua Glazier’s real estate development company has found a niche while doing build-to-suits in the city and nearby suburbs. And a video chain’s decision to pull out of a lease deal only confirmed its direction was correct.

The Glazier Corp. was in the midst of an 8,750-sf build-to-suit at 6250 S. Ashland Ave. meant for Hollywood Video when the company pulled the plug. The company found takers in six tenants—Dollar store, Holy Cross Hospital, a Subway franchisee, a cellular phone company, dental office and nail salon.

“We were tremendously surprised by the hunger for retail space there,” Glazier told the community development commission Tuesday.

The commission green-lighted a redevelopment agreement and tax increment financing with Cardinal Limited Partnership, a Glazier Corp.-controlled entity, as well as the sale of city-owned parcels at 5233-39 S. Ashland Ave. for their appraised value of $66,500. Together with a 22,000-sf parcel it already owns, the 8,325-sf site that has been vacant for seven years will allow Cardinal to build a 12,800-sf retail center in a blighted area with an abundance of vacant lots and limited retail services.

“There’s some parts of the city that are tremendously under-served,” Glazier tells GlobeSt.com. “If you’re willing to take a risk, you can carve out a niche.”

The commission recommends the city council approve the land sale, as well as tax increment financing paying up to $311,000, or 19% of the project’s $1.637-million cost.

Also backed by an interim financing commitment from Bank One, Glazier says 80% of the space for the center has been pre-leased. The six to nine storefronts will likely include a grocery, clothing, hardware store and medical office, among other tenants. Another will be a 2,400-sf space for community groups, which Cardinal will rent out at a 17% discount. Construction is slated to begin in March 2003 with completion in December 2003.

Glazier says his family-owned company began as a build-to-suit developer, building medical facilities for Holy Cross Hospital, Hollywood Video stores as well as the Starbucks at Cicero Avenue and 47th Street, a mile from Midway Airport and the ubiquitous coffee chain’s only Southwest Side outlet. In addition to the center further south on Ashland Avenue, Glazier built another 8,750-sf center at 6301 W. Cermak Rd. in west suburban Berwyn and a 7,400-sf center at 79th Street and Damen Avenue.

“As we were doing these projects, we realized there was an untapped market for retail space,” Glazier says.

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