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CHICAGO-Smithfield Properties will pay $2.46 million for a 49,000-sf corner at 2800 W. Armitage Ave., where it plans to build 22,750 sf of new retail space in a $6.1-million project. Among the retailers expressing early interest are Ann Taylor Lofts, Ulta Cosmetics, Potbelly Sandwiches and Jamba Juice, members of the community development commission were told this week.

While the Logan Square community has seen its share of residential redevelopment, the retail sector has lagged, says 35th Alderman Rey Colon, who can remember when the northwest corner of Armitage and California avenues was a Shell Oil service station, then a used car lot. The property is a vacant lot after a previous proposal failed to get off the drawing board.

“The whole area is changing for the better,” says Colon, who is betting the three-building project will prove to be a catalyst for additional retail developments. “But we’re having a lot of trouble in terms of retail.”

However, construction is not likely to begin until next summer, says Smithfield Properties partner Robert Buono, with completion slated for 2005.

While Smithfield Properties’ work includes adapting Downtown office buildings into multifamily use as well as new multifamily development, it has hooked up with Oak Brook-based retail leasing specialist Mid-America Real Estate to fill the Logan Square space.

Smithfield Properties beat out five other development teams answering a city request for proposals. Three of them included a CVS pharmacy and bank, while one was a mixed-use project.

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