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City Winery Chicago



NelsonHill was hired by Robin’s Food Distribution in 2010 to achieve maximum value from the sale of an 80-year-old, vintage, food processing facility. NelsonHill was selected because of their creative approach and proven track record of similar adaptive reuse transactions. With a charge to reposition the asset for adaptive reuse, an aggressive marketing strategy was set, with a defined target audience identified. The goal was to present the property in a way, that a prospect buyer could have vision for what could be achievable from the redevelopment of the property. NelsonHill began by assembling a team of specialist service providers, who went to work immediately.Their design team built a rendering specific to a future restaurant / entertainment facility. “Having a visual representation of its redevelopment potential was critical in order to draw attention from the Chicago restaurant community.” said Michael Nelson, SIOR, a Principal at NelsonHill.


Through their broker network, NelsonHill identified the Manhattan-based, City Winery that currently occupies the same size space in New York. With their concept expanding, NelsonHill engaged their representative and submitted a marketing package containing all the pertinent property information needed to solicit a showing. After multiple site visits and property inspections, the NelsonHill team was able to solicit an offer from City Winery. Knowing that the prospective buyer had surveyed the market and was actively engaging other potential locations, it was critical that the buyer was kept engaged in our opportunity, with supporting area information, and compelling statistics about property values and the future of the West Loop.


After initially attempting to negotiate a lease transaction, NelsonHill connected City with SomerCor 504 and was able to get a favorable SBA loan approved for the acquisition and construction loan. This knowledge of the financial markets was one of the keys to securing the transaction for the seller.

At NelsonHill, the value proposition is to create maximum value from every real estate transaction, for clients. Their service-driven model procures prospects and converts them into buyers through a committed process of negotiation and detailed communication, not only with the broker involved but also with both sets
of legal counsel, bankers, environmental consultants and appraisers.


Through the NelsonHill network of service providers, Summit Design + Build, was selected as the construction arm of the redevelopment project. With their expertise, more than 75% of the existing structure was retained, and the property re-positioned for years to come.

The City Winery project is an excellent example of in-city adaptive reuse success: a 28,000 square foot, antiquated food distribution warehouse converted into a new, fully-functional urban winery, with a 400-capacity entertainment venue and restaurant.


The West Loop of Chicago, positioned directly West of Downtown and centered around Randolph Street, has quickly been transformed from a warehouse district to a thriving work/play community of retail, dining and wholesale space. Now home to award-winning restaurants like Girl & the Goat, NellcÔte, Market and Moto Restaurant, the CTA has provided easier access by installing a Green-Line Morgan Station, and private developers capitalizing on residential development opportunities. The new City Winery is positioned for success, with room to grow.