CTA to pay $306,000 a year in rent to operate training facility at former Northwestern College on Lipps near Jefferson Park CTA Terminal
by BRIAN NADIG
The former Northwestern College building at 4829 N. Lipps Ave. is being converted into a CTA training facility as part of a 10 ½-year rental agreement in which the transit agency could be paying the property’s owner about $3 million in rent plus property tax and other expenses over that time.
The two-story, 18,000-square-foot building, which has been vacant for 4 years, is located between the former Jefferson Park firehouse, 4841 N. Lipps Ave., which is being converted into a brewery with apartments on the upper floors, and the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. The site is located less than a block from the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Avondale Investors LLC acquired the property in 2018. The acquisition also included the college property at 4811 N. Milwaukee Ave., but it does not appear the CTA is leasing the vacant Milwaukee building.
The investment group reportedly is affiliated with the Mega Group, which has several commercial properties in Jefferson Park, including the 10-story Veterans Square at 4849 N. Milwaukee Ave. and a parking lot at 4849 N. Lipps Ave., where a 16-story building with 114 apartments is planned.
Mega recently constructed a four-story building at 5201 W. Lawrence Ave. and purchased the former site of the Sportif bike shop at 5225 W. Lawrence Ave., which was demolished and where private shuttle buses have been parked in recent weeks. The city sold some of the land used for the four-story project for $1 after acquiring it for $1.46 million about 15 years ago.
The lease calls for a term of 10 years and seven months with two five-year options to extend the lease but also allows the CTA to terminate the lease at the end of the third year or the seventh year, subject to a termination fee. The Chicago Transit Board approved the agreement at its May 12 meeting.
“The authority will pay an initial rate of $17 per square foot ($306,000 per annum) with 3 percent annual escalations plus operating expenses for items such as maintenance, repair and replacement costs, utilities, lessor’s (owner’s) property insurance costs in excess of $9,000 per year, and lessor’s real estate taxes in excess of $37,800 per year, and will purchase separate property insurance or self-insure for such obligation and self-insure for other insurance obligations under the lease,” states the transit board’s ordinance.
The ordinance also states that the owner “will fund up to $450,000 in tenant improvements and $3,060 for space planning and provide three months of rent abatement in year one and four months of rate abatement in year four.”
The ordinance does not specify the amount of the rent abatement or termination fee.
The site includes 46 parking spaces.