L3 Capital purchases historic Market Square on Chicago’s North Shore for $35.5 million

November 20, 2013  |  Staff Writer  |  Print Article  |  Email this Article

MarketSquare1aL3 Capital has acquired Market Square, a historic retail property with 26 retailers and restaurants in Lake Forest, for $35.5 million.

“This is the most iconic property on the North Shore,” said Michael Schreiber, principal at L3 Capital. “Market Square has been a staple in this area for nearly a century and we believe our strategy of acquiring the best retail properties in top-tier cities will translate well here.  The North Shore, and Lake Forest in particular, is one of Chicago’s premier residential areas with impressive demographics. We are confident this investment will yield significant long-term value for our firm.”

Market Square was originally developed in 1916 for $750,000 as part of the Lake Forest Improvement Plan. Designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw to resemble an English market square, it was officially the first designed shopping center in the country. Because of Market Square’s significance, portions of the development were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Today, nearly 100 years after its creation, Market Square boasts an eclectic mix of national and local retailers, such as current locations for Williams-Sonoma, J. Crew, Bluemercury and Talbots, as well as local stalwarts like Kiddles Sporting Goods, Forest Bootery and The Lake Forest Shop. In total, Market Square currently has 26 retail and restaurant tenants.

“Part of this asset’s appeal is that it attracts both national retailers and successful local businesses,” Schreiber said. “We have no intention of changing this formula, and, if anything, we hope to enhance this equation when opportunities to re-tenant arise.”

As part of L3’s strategy, the firm intends to invest heavily over the next two years in Market Square with an intensive marketing plan, infrastructure upgrades, life safety upgrades and historic restoration projects, Schreiber said.

The development consists of seven buildings and totals 100,000 square feet, with 50,000 square feet of retail and 50,000 square feet of office space. The addresses for Market Square include 653 Bank Lane, 659 Bank Lane, 722 Bank Lane and 675 Forest Ave.

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