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Report: Investor Buys Uptown Building That Housed Goldblatt’s, Borders

Former Borders In Uptown

The shuttered Borders bookstore in Uptown. (Credit: Uptown Update; used by permission.)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The vacant building that housed Goldblatt’s, and later Borders, in the Uptown neighborhood has been purchased by an investor who plans to bring in new businesses, according to a published report.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that the building at 4718 N. Broadway has been sold to investor Joshua Mintzer, head of Saxony Capital LLC. He paid $3 million to the previous owner, Cole Taylor Bank, and closed on the deal earlier this month, the Sun-Times reported.

Mintzer tells the newspaper he was attracted to the building because of the popular venues nearby, including the Green Mill, the Riviera Theatre and the Aragon Ballroom. Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants those venues to become the anchors of an Uptown Music District – along with the long-shuttered Uptown Theatre, which owner JAM Productions hopes to reopen once funding is secured.

The Sun-Times says Mintzer says he does not expect to rent the space to a single tenant, like the Borders bookstore that occupied 26,000 square feet on two stories.

Mintzer also bought 13,000 square feet of nearby real estate that is already occupied with retailers, the Sun-Times reports.

The building is actually two separate structures. The two-story neoclassical building that tapers at the junction of Broadway and Racine Avenue was constructed in 1915 and originally housed the Sheridan Trust Bank, while the five-story structure behind the old bank building housed a Loren Miller department store.

The bank later moved across the street into the current Bridgeview Bank building, and Loren Miller expanded and knocked down walls to link the old bank building to its complex. Goldblatt’s took over the building in 1931 after Loren Miller closed, the Chicago Reader recalled.

As part of one remodeling effort in the 1960s, Goldblatt’s covered the arched windows of the old bank building in bricks, the Reader reported. The old bank entrance was also bricked over, and covered with an enormous neon clock.

Goldblatt’s finally closed in 1998, and developer Joseph Freed bought the complex the following year. The façades on the building were restored, and the neon signs and clock and the old rooftop water tank came down, as the space was renovated for the new Borders store.

A December 2003 story pointed out that $7 million of tax increment financing money were used to renovate the historic Goldblatt’s building before Borders moved in. The Borders opened with much fanfare in the spring of 2004, but closed its doors eight years later along with several other Chicago Borders locations – just a few months after the entire company went out of business.

The old Goldblatt’s complex also included a third building, which had begun as the Plymouth Hotel, located behind the old Loren Miller building. That building, which dated from 1912, was demolished as part of Freed’s renovation and replaced with the two-story building that now houses the Body Fit Athletic Club, the Agami Sushi restaurant and a T-Mobile store.