Hubbard Street, Centrum bringing Chicago’s first Philz Coffee to Wicker Park

Hubbard Street Group managing Partner John McLinden and Wicker Park Connection at 1640 West Division Street (Credit: Wicker Park Connection)

San Francisco-based Philz Coffee will break into the Chicago market next summer with a 2,100-square-foot cafe on the ground floor of the newly-built Wicker Park Connection apartment complex near the Division CTA Blue Line station.

Hubbard Street Group and Centrum Realty signed the chain to a lease inside their 146-unit complex at 1640 West Division Street, which opened earlier this year. The coffee shop will be the first of at least three locations Philz plans to open in the Chicago area.

A Philz Coffee storefront in Washington, D.C.

John McLinden, managing partner of Hubbard Street, predicted the business will apply for outdoor seating permits to catch the eyes of pedestrians making their way out of the nearby subway station.

“There’s so much foot traffic right there, it’s just going to be an incredible spot for them,” McLinden said. “Once they activate that plaza, it’s going to be one of the best locations around to come sit and hang out.”

The coffee shop will be joined by a 2,350-square-foot Solidcore pilates studio on the ground floor, with a 5,000-square-foot Salon Lofts hairdresser space on the second floor. Hubbard Street is in talks with a “specialty food service” tenant to fill the remaining 1,000 square feet of commercial space in the building that is yet to be leased, McLinden said.

The apartments in Wicker Park Connection are now about 80 percent leased. Units range from studios to three-bedrooms and start around $2,000 per month.

The 15-story mixed-use building represents the second phase of Hubbard and Centrum’s plans for the “Polish Triangle” intersection of Ashland Avenue, Division Street and Milwaukee Avenue. In 2016, the developers opened the 60-unit Centrum Wicker Park at 1664 West Division Street, anchored by a 12,800-square-foot Target.

The developers are hoping their latest tenant announcement draws west coast transplants from all over the city, McLinden said. Aside from a handful of locations in the Washington, D.C. area, Philz has only ever operated in California.

“If you come from Los Angeles or San Francisco, [Philz] is sort of like a cult,” McLinden said. “It has a real devoted following, and I think they’ll find this is a great location for them.”

Hubbard Street is also building the 123-unit residential portion of the Field Lofts redevelopment at 4000 West Diversey Avenue, and the company led a joint venture to acquire a 184,000-square-foot shopping center in suburban Oak Lawn.

The firm also partnered with Centrum on the 46,000-square-foot headquarters of RXBar in River North, which they put on the market with a $30 million asking price this summer.

Last year, Centrum sold the 140,000-square-foot office portion of the Wicker Park Commons shopping center at 1278 North Milwaukee Avenue to JSM Venture and Cedar Street Capital for $14.85 million.

Hubbard Street has taken advantage of the city’s five-year-old transit-oriented development rules, so far having built about 850 units in buildings with reduced parking requirements, McLinden said. This year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed expanding the designation to some high-traffic bus routes.

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