The New Fulton Market? Local developer puts $50M bet on Humboldt Park

IBT Group’s Gary Pachucki and renderings of Humboldt Lit (Credit: LinkedIn and IBT)

IBT Group’s Gary Pachucki and renderings of Humboldt Lit (Credit: LinkedIn and IBT)

Chicago’s central business district has been creeping westward for years, but can it get as far west as Humboldt Park? One local developer is betting it can.

Gary Pachucki is working to redevelop three warehouse buildings in the 1300 block of North Kostner Avenue into a mixed-use complex, featuring retail and “creative work space” the developer is calling Humboldt Lit.

The loft-style office space will be marketed toward companies in creative fields, which may have been priced out of Fulton Market years ago, said Pachucki, who leads development firm IBT Group.

“We’re trying to provide a vertical creative work environment that doesn’t exist in Chicago,” Pachucki said. Cowley Chicago’s urban development team will market the new office space. The buildout is being spearheaded by Ratio Architects.

IBT Group is under contract for the three warehouse facilities currently occupied by a furniture company, Pachucki said. The total project is slated to cost about $50 million, including potential extensive buildouts for technology firms.

The plan is to turn the 6-plus-acre property into a campus-style office development with 240,000 square feet of space dedicated to retail and office uses. The space could accommodate a number of tenants, or have a single tenant, Pachucki said. He envisions uses like a coffee shop and a bike store. There will be about 1 acre of outdoor space.

The booming Fulton Market, which home to trendy restaurants and hotels, along with gleaming office towers, already commands the most expensive rental rates of any submarket. Increasingly, traditional corporate tenants — like Ernst & Young — have moved into the neighborhood.

Humboldt Park is an increasingly popular neighborhood, at least for homeowners, with the neighborhood seeing escalating home values and tax bills.

Fulton Market’s office and residential developments have steadily inched westward, with projects popping up closer to Ashland Avenue.

This is not IBT Group’s first foray into the speculative West Side development game. In 2009, the firm purchased a 4-acre warehouse in the 1100 block of West Jackson Boulevard with plans for 300 residences, a Mariano’s and a movie theater. With the recession throttling development, IBT’s financing partners backed out, though the firm helped to develop a Target store on the site.

Pachucki also hasn’t abandoned Fulton Market entirely, The firm has a project in the works there, though it was too early to discuss.

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