WIN: Redevelopment underway for MHUB / Cameron Building

Cameron Building / Cook Brothers Building, 1926, Thielbar and Fugard, 240 N. Ashland Avenue. Photo credit: Google Maps
Cameron Building / Cook Brothers Building, 1926, Thielbar and Fugard, 240 N. Ashland Avenue. Photo credit: Loopnet

“A preliminary permit for interior demolition has been granted in preparation for the revitalization of the Cameron Building at 240 N Ashland Avenue in the Near West Side. Situated on the southwest corner at the intersection with W Fulton Street, the historic clocktower building has been vacant for several years and is now proposed as the new headquarters for local incubator mHUB. The non-profit organization is driving the initiative, while Gensler is now confirmed as the project architect.

“Constructed in 1926, Cameron Building was designed by Thielbar and Fugard in the Prairie Style and functioned as a manufacturing plant for the Cameron Can Company for many years. It later housed the headquarters for Crate & Barrel’s CB2 until 2019.

“mHUB plans to relocate from its current 63,000-square-foot facility at 965 W Chicago Avenue in River West to the larger 80,000-square-foot building as its existing lease is set to expire next year. The manufacturing-centric incubator has been responsible for 410 patents, 3,900 new jobs, and millions in capital raised for its affiliated companies. Today the structure remains a prominent focal point when looking west along Fulton Street.

“mHUB is expected to invest approximately $32 million in purchasing the property and an additional $14 million in adapting it to suit its requirements. This will allow for the relocation of nearly $6 million worth of prototyping equipment, 10 labs, a micro-factory, and other facilities that host over 50 entrepreneurial and technical classes for more than 600 members.

“The approved plan will allocate $17.5 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, as well as $9.5 million in state funds, to help realize their vision for the three-story building, including the restoration of the clock tower as reported by Crain’s Chicago.

“The interior demolition permit has listed Executive Construction as the general contractor, with this initial stage reported to cost $250,000. With mHUB having just purchased the site, the project is anticipated to be completed later this year, allowing the incubator to move in before the expiration of their current lease.” (Crawford, Chicago YIMBY, 5/4/23)

“As part of this significant investment of public funds, Preservation Chicago strongly encourages the City of Chicago to consider Chicago Landmark designation for the Cameron Building / Cook Brothers Building. This building is a strong candidate for designation considering its design by notable architects and significant building history.

This is an excellent use of for this historic loft warehouse building. Preservation Chicago strongly encourages the use of city funds to restore and reactivate Chicago Landmarks and landmark-eligible buildings. We additionally encourage Chicago Landmark designation status be a requirement for eligibility for the significant investment of public funds.

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