By Micah Maidenberg
Kimco Realty Corp. sold the historic Germania Club in Old Town for about 15 percent less it paid six years ago.
A venture of the New Hyde Park, New York-based company sold the building at 108 W. Germania Place for $7.9 million to an affiliate of Buffalo Grove-based Svigos Asset Management Inc., according to Cook County property records. In 2008 the Kimco venture paid $9.3 million for the property, which is used as a banquet hall and also has retail tenants.
Designed by architect August Fiedler, the property combines Romanesque and classical design features and a distinctive brick façade. For about a century after its completion in 1889, it was a social club for German immigrants.
Kimco's acquisition of the property six years ago was an atypical deal for the company, a real estate investment trust best known for owning suburban strip malls and shopping centers.
“I think they decided to sell because it wasn't part of their core strategy going forward,” said Bill Baumann, senior managing director at Chicago-based Kiser Group who brokered the sale. “I think they had a strategy, kind of an urban redevelopment strategy that I'm not sure they've been pursuing for years.”
Mr. Baumann declined to discuss the names of the seller and buyer, which were in property records. A Kimco spokesman didn't respond to requests for comment.
CITY DESIGNATED IT A LANDMARK
It's unclear whether Kimco planned to remake the property, but the City Council complicated any such plans in 2011 when designated the structure a historic landmark, restricting how the building could be changed. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The property has about 40,000 square feet of fully leased rentable space, said Nick Vittore, vice president at Svigoas Asset Management.
Tenants include a Starbucks coffee shop and Thai restaurant, while Kenmare Catering leases about 19,500 square feet on the property's second floor and on a mezzanine level, where it runs a special events and banquets business, he said.
The newest tenant, Mr. Vittore said, is CorePower Yoga, which leased 7,700 square feet for a studio and office space.
“We just bought this as a stable asset. It's fully leased. We're just looking to own it,” he said. “As it stands now, there's really no development opportunity because it's fully leased.”
Svigos Asset Management owns residential and commercial properties on the North Side and in the suburbs, while a development arm is converting a Lincoln Park school into apartments. One of the company's executives, John Svigos, also runs the Fresh Farms grocery chain.
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