Jimmy John’s coming to 6 Corners
by BRIAN NADIG
The last remaining commercial space in the Klee Plaza, 4001-23 N. Milwaukee Ave., was leased recently to Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, marking a milestone for a Six Corners redevelopment project that began 15 years ago.
“Jimmy John’s is nationally known and sought after,” Klee Plaza developer Marc Sussman said. “They want Six Corners, and it says that Six Corners is a desirable shopping district.”
The fast-food chain, which is headquartered in Champaign, has more than 1,500 shops. Its Six Corners shop will measure about 1,800 square feet. The shop is expected to open in about 6 months.
Sussman was part of a development group that purchased the triangular Klee Brothers Building, which faces both Milwaukee Avenue and Cicero Avenue, from the City of Chicago 8 years ago. By the late 1990s the five-story building, which was named after a clothing store, had lost its anchor tenants, and the city purchased the property in the hope of attracting new retailers to the site and converting the upper-floor offices to residential units.
Several adjoining buildings to the north also were acquired by Chicago Klee Development LLC, allowing construction of five-story addition to the 82-year-old Klee Building. The first floor of the building has about 19,700 square feet of commercial space, and tenants include a martial arts center, a vitamin shop, a physical therapist and an eyeglass store, while the top four floors contain 64 condominium units.
The city intended the Klee project, which was subsidized by tax increment financing funds, to be a catalyst for other redevelopment in the Six Corners district, but the downturn of the real estate market in 2008 slowed revitalization of the area. After the Klee project was announced, two properties in the 4000 block of Milwaukee were rezoned to accommodate restaurants, which were never built due to financing problems.
Sussman, who is the chairman of the Six Corners Economic Development Committee said that he sees a bright future for the area with the recent openings of the Filament Theater Ensemble and the National Veterans Arts Museum, both at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., and several planned restaurants, including a Chipotle Mexican Grill at 4653 W. Irving Park Road.
The district recently got some bad news with the closing of the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., but a zoning application for a new restaurant in the block is expected to be filed soon, and a dance studio and cultural center also is planned for the same block. Another site in the block was rezoned several months ago to accommodate a two-story restaurant with a rooftop patio.
“The Six Corners Association has been trying to bring this kind of development to the area and community for years,” Sussman said. “We’ve been working to spread the word about the demographics (of the area).”
Several vacant storefronts on Milwaukee near the Portage Theater are owned by Eddie Carranza, who also owns the theater building. Carranza said last week that several entertainment management companies have expressed interest in re-opening the theater.