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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Parking Lot Behind Uptown Theatre Will Be Turned Into 5-Story Apartment Building

The building with 54 apartments would replace a parking lot that has been in Uptown for nearly 60 years.

The parking lot behind the Uptown Theater will be turned into a five-story apartment building.
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UPTOWN — A parking lot that for years served patrons of the Uptown Theatre and other entertainment venues will be redeveloped into a five-story apartment building.

Developer JAB Realty is seeking a building permit to begin turning the parking lot at Lawrence and Magnolia avenues into a five-story, 54-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail space, city records show. The project is a transit oriented development, meaning it can offer fewer than the city’s required number of parking spaces because of its proximity to major public transit lines.

A building permit has yet to be approved, city records indicate. The development would replace a parking lot behind the Uptown Theatre that has been around for nearly 60 years, according to Uptown Update.

Chicago-based JAB Realty bought the parking lot last year for $3.45 million, property records show.

Little else is known about the planned development, however. The developer is not seeking a zoning change as the property’s current zoning allows for high-rise housing. That means the project does not require aldermanic approval, like many developments that require zoning changes.

Ald. Matt Martin’s office only learned of the development proposal after a 47th Ward staffer saw construction signage at the site. Josh Mark, Martin’s director of development and infrastructure, said he then searched the property’s address in building permit databases, and then asked City Hall staff for help learning more. The developer is using the address 4806 N. Magnolia Ave., which previously was not used for the property, complicating the search, Mark said.

As-of-right building highlights a dichotomy in Chicago’s development approval process, Mark said.

“Either [aldermen] have veto power and full say, or we have zero power,” Mark said.

Renderings of the development have not yet been made public, Mark said. A representative for JAB Realty did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Once built, the building would neighbor the Uptown Theatre, which is undergoing a $75 million renovation that would make the long-dormant theater the center of Uptown’s reinvigorated entertainment district. After years of fits and starts, work on the theater renovation is scheduled to ramp up this year, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) previously said.

JAB Realty’s project is just the latest large-scale apartment project planned for Uptown — and it isn’t the only one where a parking lot property will be repurposed for residential use.

A few blocks east of the JAB site, Cedar Street is working to turn another long-time parking lot off Lawrence Avenue into an 84-unit rental complex. Closer to the lakefront, developers are seeking to redevelop a parking lot at the former Immaculata High School campus into a 23-story senior living center.

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