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CHICAGO-An Uptown building considered historically significant has found a developer willing to restore it to its original splendor, but at a cost to the city of more than $1.1 million. The community development commission recently endorsed tax increment financing up to 26% of the project’s estimated $4.1-million cost for broker Thaddeus Wong, co-founder of @Properties, to renovate the three-story, 19,000-sf Uptown Broadway building at 4703 N. Broadway Ave.

“This is a building we’ve loved, and have had high hopes for, but we wondered who would step forward,” says 48th Ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith. “The developer has really taken something on here out of love. We consider ourselves very, very lucky that he fell in love with it.”

Wong plans to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as electrical systems, add interior walls and renovate the terra cotta exterior. When completed, he plans to have two first-floor retail spaces totaling 3,500 sf, which already are attracting interest from prospective restaurant and night club operators. The two upper floors of the 79-year-old building will offer 8,600 sf of office space. Wong’s projected return on the project is 7.5%, according to Michelle Dewlen of the department of planning and development.

“I’m excited about the project,” Wong says. “My major goal is to restore the building to its original splendor.”

Wong has hired Baum Realty to find retail tenants and has generated letters of interest. He plans to keep the building and manage it after it is renovated.

Part of the building’s history includes legend that it was connected by an underground tunnel system to hang-outs frequented by Al Capone, Smith says.

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