Banner Storage Group LLC, a subsidiary of Banner Apartments LLC that buys, builds, finances and sells self-storage properties, is eyeing a former movie theater and adjacent carwash in Chicago for a potential self-storage conversion project. Called an “eyesore” by residents, the former Cineplex Odeon Cinemas could become a three-story storage facility, while the carwash would be demolished, according to the source.
The theater at 6385 N. McCormick Road has been vacant since it closed in 2005 due to a significant lease increase. Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day Schools purchased the property in 2008 with plans to construct a new school campus at the site. It later decided to build elsewhere and is now looking to sell the property, the source reported.
Following the school’s announcement to sell the building last spring, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), which owns the 2-acre parking lot attached to the theater, agreed to transform the asphalt into a park with turf. Residents have also pressured the city and MWRD to fix up the property, as it attracts criminals and gang activity, according to the source. The theater has been vandalized despite the school’s attempts to secure it with heavy-duty metal barricades.
Additional changes for the park are on hold until development of the theater and carwash are finalized, the source reported. The North Shore Channel Trail, a lit walking path and bikeway, runs alongside the new park, behind the movie theater and parallel to the North Shore Channel, a drainage canal. The Chicago Park District has agreed to take over the lease for the new park, according to Allison Fore, an MWRD spokeswoman.
Although the city has had interest from a variety of developers since the theater closed, none of the plans have come to fruition. "We worked for the past 10 years with different scenarios of people having interest in developing something. It just has never quite made it to the finish line,” said David St. Pierre, executive director for MWRD.
School officials released renderings of the proposed self-storage facility in March. However, John Nikolich, Banner’s executive vice president, said it was “too early in the process” to discuss the development.
Banner Apartments is a real estate investment management business specializing in the ownership, development and management of multi-family properties. Founded in 1989, the company has ownership or management interest in more than 6,000 apartment units.
Banner Storage Group was formed in July 2013 to diversify Banner Apartments’ real estate holdings. The subsidiary is led by Gary Delaney, president, and Nikolich, who have more than 35 years of combined experience in the acquisition, development, disposition and financing of self-storage properties, portfolios and operating companies.