4 Reasons Not To Ignore Six Corners
Investors and developers have been flocking north on Milwaukee Avenue in recent years, following Millennials and the allure of TODs along Chicago's "Hipster Highway." But one area has (so far) remained a hidden gem: Six Corners. Here are four reasons why Six Corners could explode.
1. It's A Growing Retail District
In its Roaring '20s heyday, Six Corners was Chicago's largest commercial district outside of the Loop. It's been anchored by retail for decades, with a Sears store at the district's namesake intersection of Cicero Avenue, Milwaukee Avenue and Irving Park Road.
Today, Six Corners is an attractive infill submarket. Tucker Development used that Sears store as foundation for Marketplace at Six Corners (shown), a 344k SF retail center it built in 1996 and sold in 1998 to Oak Brook-based IRC Retail Centers. That Sears is still hanging on (miraculously). More recently, investor Charles Cui bought a Bank of America building at 4901 West Irving Park Road and plans to redevelop it into multi-tenant retail, and a plan by Clark Street Real estate to redevelop retail on the southern side of the intersection has support from Ald. John Arena (45th). Six Corners is surrounded by residential neighborhoods that would love to take advantage of new retail options.
2. The Portage Theater
Located at 4050 North Milwaukee, the Portage, like the Six Corners Sears, has persevered through the decades. The 96-year-old Art Deco theater was haphazardly split into three screens in the '80s. A group of preservationists worked with ownership to slowly restore it to a semblance of its former glory and its interior served as a stand-in for the Biograph Theater in the film Public Enemies.
The city approved landmark status for the Portage in 2012 before controversial landlord Eddie Carranza bought the theater later that year and ran afoul of Arena and community groups. Carranza sold the Portage this May.
3. Plethora Of Adaptive Reuse Possibilities
North of the six corners intersection, Milwaukee Avenue is a canyon of boarded-up storefronts waiting to have new life breathed into them. This stretch of Milwaukee is slowly being redeveloped into an entertainment district, with the Portage as its anchor. The long block is home to the National Veterans Art Museum and Filament Theatre, both at 4041 North Milwaukee. Other redevelopment opps could include retail and residential; the Portage building also houses 28 apartments. If Sears decides to close its store, the combination of footprint size and Art Deco design would make for an attractive adaptive reuse play.
4. The Surrounding Transportation Infrastructure Is Sound
The intersection that gives Six Corners its name also serves as a meeting point for ample public transportation. Milwaukee and Cicero avenues, and Irving Park Road, each have dedicated bus routes that extend to downtown, the far northwest side and north suburbs, and the south and west sides. The Irving Park Blue Line "L" station is a mile east of the district, and Six Corners is easily accessible via the Kennedy and Edens expressways.