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CHICAGO-A $2-million retail center, which could include a Starbucks, deli, office supply store and bank branch, will be built on nine city-owned parcels in the 9900 block of S. Halsted Street, considered the northern gateway to the Washington Heights community. The city is selling the lots, totaling 1.2 acres, to Halsted Renaissance Properties, Inc. for $150,000, 37% less than the land’s recently appraised value.

The property at offers visibility from I-57, which has an interchange at Halsted St. The parcels at 9917-59 S. Halsted St. is used by the city for parking and a staging area for construction crews. The surrounding area is primarily single-family homes, says department of planning and development project manager Karen Forte, with moderate- to high-income household incomes.

“There really hasn’t been any recent commercial development in this area,” says Greg Mitchell, a representative for the development team. “There’s a substantial traffic flow, and in terms of services, it’s underserved…What we intend to do is bring a bit of the suburbs on the South Side of Chicago.”

Two tenants in the three-building, 12,675-sf center are certain—Universal Insurance Agency and Statewide Mortgage, Inc., companies controlled by one of the developers, Samer Alzayed.

The land write-down, which represents less than 5% of the project’s cost, helps offset a 2,300-sf reduction in leasing area as a result of a change in plans as well as additional infrastructure and landscaping, Forte says. Halsted Renaissance Properties originally pitched a single 15,000-sf building, but was urged by the department of planning and development to split the project into three structures, she explains.

Mitchell says the developers hope to begin construction in September, under an aggressive 60- to 90-day schedule.

The center joins other retail projects planned or under construction at 115th and Halsted streets as well as at 119th Street and I-57.

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