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CHICAGO-Even Gary Poter is surprised at the success of his redevelopment of a 39,780-sf site at the Six Corners intersection of Irving Park Road, Cicero and Milwaukee avenues. The developer of the $19-million project, which including turning a landmark Portage Park building into 64 condominiums and creating 19,000 sf of retail space, reports pre-sales of the residential portion have surpassed 60%.

Although Poter was recommended for $2.5 million of tax increment financing and a $1.3-million land write-down by the community development commission last year, his project just received a planning commission endorsement last week. Poter got a necessary zoning change in December, but needs further approval of his project in the 4000 blocks of Cicero and Milwaukee avenues because it calls for four more units than allowed.

Poter tells GlobeSt.com the profile of his buyers tends to be younger suburbanites who grew up in the Portage Park area. Although he remains in negotiations with potential retail tenants, the response to the condominiums was better than he expected. “It’s beyond my expectations,” Poter says. “Something in the community, of this nature, has been needed for some time. This is the gateway to Portage Park.”

Potential retailers are “national credit tenants,” Poter adds, including coffeehouses and restaurants. They will occupy ground-floor space in a rehabbed five-story Klee Building, which will include most of the 64 condominiums and underground parking for 67 vehicles. A new five-story structure along Milwaukee Avenue will serve as an extension of the 71-year-old Art Deco Klee Building, according to Denise Roman of the department of planning and development. Poter hopes to complete his project by the end of 2006.

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