Many nonprofits and service organizations work at 4753 N. Broadway but are being asked to relocate in order to make way for what will likely be luxury apartments. Credit: Jonathan Ballew/Block Club Chicago

UPTOWN — Tenants of the Bridgeview Bank building, many of them service organizations, are being forced to relocate after developer Cedar Street Companies has bought the historic bank building.

Cedar Street is reportedly offering the groups the option to terminate their leases early without penalty as they developer prepares to redevelop the building at 4753 N. Broadway, likely outfitting it with luxury units, tenants in the building confirmed. Cedar St. closed on the building in April, according to The Real Deal Chicago.

Although leaders of the service groups say that Cedar Street offered them a fair deal to relocate, many said the building’s redevelopment from service hub to likely luxury housing is yet another sign that Uptown is rapidly gentrifying.

Cedar Street officials did not respond to requests for comment.  

The historic building has undergone several name changes over the last century. Credit: Jonathan Ballew/Block Club Chicago

Asian Human Services, a nonprofit that works with immigrants and refugees across the region, is among the tenants relocating, said Rebecca Creighton, the group’s director of strategic initiatives at Asian Human Services. Creighton declined to comment further.

The Center for Law and Social Work, which offers legal and social services to families and foster parents who are adopting, have also been asked by Cedar Street to relocate after the end of their lease, said Ruth McMahon, the group’s chief operating officer.

McMahon said they expected the news and the developer was “pretty upfront about it.” She said her organization has a few options to relocate in the works, but nothing concrete yet.

The Center for Law and Social Work will not be as affected as Refugee One, which serves clients directly at the Bridgeview Bank building. For many of Refugee One’s clients, the location, steps away from the Red Line, makes accessing services possible.

The Bridgeview building is just steps from the Lawrence Red Line stop. Credit: Jonathan Ballew/Block Club Chicago

Jims Porter, a spokesperson for Refugee One, declined to comment on the sale of the building.

He said much of Refugee One’s work has shifted away from Uptown as rents continue to rise. Refugee One has had a home in Uptown for more than 30 years, but Porter said they would not seek a new home in Uptown.

“[The] overall cost of living in Uptown have made it too expensive for newly-arrived refugees to make their homes,” he said.

Porter said most of their clients live in Rogers Park, West Ridge and Albany Park, and that moving locations will offer Refugee One a chance to move closer to the clients they serve.

Andy Kang, executive director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, said the move comes at an inopportune time with the 2020 Census and elections coming up.

The organization had also hoped to host a youth program for emerging leaders out of the Bridgeview building. Finding a location that is easily accessible via public transportation is high on their list of priorities, he said.

Kang said many longtime residents are being priced out of Uptown.

“It’s kind of a sad moment for our organization,” he said.

Operating in a building with so many service organizations was beneficial for the nonprofit community, Kang said.

The Asian population, one of the bedrocks of Uptown, is increasingly being displaced from the neighborhood, he said. His own father came to Chicago, as many Asian-Americans did, to work the railroads. His parent’s first breakfast was at the Golden House Restaurant and Pancake House, 4744 N. Broadway, a beloved Uptown institution that has been in the neighborhood for decades.

Many of the shop owners on Argyle Street still live above or near their businesses, he said. But as the neighborhood changes, they will have to commute to run their businesses.

Kang said he would like to see local leaders develop a thoughtful plan on how to combat gentrification in Uptown.

“There is something that is lost when you have been in the community for so long,” he said.

On Friday, a representative from First Midwest Bank confirmed the bank was staying at its Uptown location.

Cedar Street’s purchase of the property in comes as the developer continues to rapidly buy up buildings on the North Side. It is likely that the developer will create luxury apartments in the building operated by the developer’s property management arm FLATS.

Although the Bridgeview Building still reads “Sheridan Trust And Savings Bank Bldg,” a nod to the original tenants that erected the building nearly 100 years ago, Bridgeview Bank acquired the building in 2003, and in 2018 First Midwest Bank acquired Bridgeview in a merger.

A Cedar St. logo can now be seen near the front entrance of the historic building. Credit: Jonathan Ballew/Block Club Chicago

Though the building has had many names, it is known for its terracotta features and stunning deco interior. The interior of the bank has been used as a filming location and was recently featured in the 2009 Johnny Depp movie “Public Enemies.”

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