CHICAGO-Nearly four years after Heilig-Meyers stopped selling furniture at 4840 N. Broadway in the Uptown Square Historical District, the building is poised to be converted to a mixed-use project that will include 12,500-sf of first-floor retail space and 22 loft condominiums. Gunnison Street Lofts, LLC, an entity formed by local developer Jim Finnegan, is expected to get $1.1 million in tax increment financing for its $7.7-million project after a favorable community development commission recommendation last week.

Finnegan may sell off the first-floor retail space for $1.05 million, according to the department of planning and development. Theater groups and health clubs are among possible tenants of the space, community development commission were told.

Finnegan was unable to secure historic tax credits for the project, which includes adding a fourth floor to the 77-year-old masonry and terra cotta building to create 13 duplex loft condominium units.

Finnegan is earmarking five units for buyers earning less than the median area income. Those units will likely sell for prices ranging from $165,000 to $193,000, while market-rate prices for the one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums will range from $255,000 to $450,000, about $240 per sf.

Without tax increment financing, Finnegan would receive no return on his investment, according to department of planning and development officials. Even with the TIF money, the return is likely less than 10%, the community development commission was told.

Meanwhile, property taxes are expected to rise from the current $21,493 bill to nearly $215,000 in 2023, according to the department of planning and development, generating an extra $3 million over the life of the TIF.

Finnegan says he is investing more than $1 million of his own money into the project. “It’s a very beautiful building,” he says.

Gunnison Street Lofts, LLC paid $1.55 million for the 37,800-sf building in May 2000, according to property records.

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