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Extra Space Opens New Self-Storage Facility in Chicago's Wicker Commons Shopping Mall

Update 8/7/18 – Cedar Street Capital and JSM have secured a $25.25 million loan from New York-based VMC Lender LLC. It’s not clear whether the money will be used for further work on the climate-controlled self-storage facility on Milwaukee Avenue or the second project on Ashland Avenue, according to the source.

Elsewhere in the complex, real estate firm RDG Funds LLC acquired a three-story mixed-use building and an adjacent single-story structure at 1616-1628 N. Damien Ave. It plans to demolish the smaller building and replace it with a three-story structure with retail on the ground floor.

8/2/17 – While the first phase of the Wicker Park Extra Space facility is now open, developers Cedar Street Capital and JSM Venture Inc. are also converting the adjoining building at 1300 N. Ashland Ave. to self-storage to house the bulk of the units as well as a drive-in loading area. The addition is expected to be complete next month. Though the storage project was previously reported to total 86,000 square feet in 1,200 units, a new source indicates a total of 92,000 square feet in 1,300 units.

Cedar Street and JSM acquired several floors of mostly empty space atop the retail portion of the shopping center from Chicago-based Centrum Partners LLC in December. They paid $14.9 million for the two loft office buildings, and then invested an additional $6 million to build out the climate-controlled storage space.

Approximately 21,000 square feet of loft space remains atop the historic, four-story Milwaukee Avenue building, which was home to the former Wieboldt’s department store. Other than a mix of retail tenants on the ground floor, the structure had been largely empty in recent years. Current tenants include a pet-supplies store, sandwich shop and the Mattress Firm, the source reported. An earlier report characterized the Mattress Firm as located “next door.”

An influx of new apartment buildings has created unmet demand for self-storage in the area, according to the source. More than 1,100 residences within one mile of the site were added between 2010 and 2016, based on an appraisal the developers received from commercial real estate services firm CBRE. There aren’t any competitors within a mile and a half of the site, said Will Murphy, managing partner at Cedar Street.

"There's a younger, mobile and kind of growing pool of renters [in the neighborhood],” John Mengel, president of JSM Venture, told the source. "Renters with relative affluence that tend to be not married and move a lot—those are all predictors of demand or need for self-storage."

The self-storage project is the latest addition to the shopping center, which is anchored by a Jewel-Osco grocery market and Lowe's home-improvement store. Centrum acquired the property in 2011 from Joseph Freed & Associates for $33 million, The developer rebranded the parcel as Wicker Park Commons and renovated both buildings. It sold the retail portion of the property in 2015 to an affiliate of Deutsche Bank for $95 million, according to the source.

Cedar Street Capital is an affiliate of Cedar Street Cos., a Chicago-based holding company with diversified interests in entertainment, hospitality, real estate and several venture startups. Cedar Street Capital specializes in the “adaptive reuse of obsolete or underperforming assets in targeted urban infill areas,” according to its website. Its focus has primarily been on hospitality, multi-family, office and retail properties.

JSM Venture is a Northfield, Ill.-based developer specializing in self-storage conversions and redevelopment of existing industrial properties. Founded in 2004, the company has acquired and developed more than 1 million square feet of self-storage.

7/19/17 – Extra Space Storage Inc., a self-storage real estate investment trust and third-party management company, is scheduled to open its 30th Chicago location on Thursday as part of the Wicker Commons Shopping Mall. The four-story building at 1279 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Wicker Park neighborhood comprises 86,000 square feet in 1,200 storage units, according to the source. Unit sizes will range from 9 to 300 square feet.

The building is just north of the Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line Division. It’s next to a Mattress Firm retail store.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Extra Space owns or operates 1,441 self-storage properties in 38 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico. The company’s properties comprise approximately 980,000 units and 109 million square feet of rentable space.

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