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Newcastle Limited Negotiates Sale of the Former “Rubens Baby Factory” Building at 2340 North Racine in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Neighborhood

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January 5, 2005
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CHICAGO – Newcastle Limited represented Rubens & Marble, Inc. in the sale of an 82-year-old commercial building located in Chicago’s upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood, announced Michael R. Haney, President of the Chicago-based real estate firm. The 62,100-square-foot, two-story building is located at 2340 North Racine Avenue. Newcastle Limited is a national real estate advisory and development firm serving not-for-profit organizations, corporations, institutions, private investors, and governmental agencies.

The buyer, DePaul University, closed on the purchase of the Rubens building on December 30. The price set a new benchmark for the Lincoln Park community. Per the seller’s goal, closing occurred just 110 days from the date Newcastle received the assignment in mid-September.

“The property was offered through a sealed-bid process,” said Martin F. Jablonski, Director of Newcastle Limited. “Because our client, Rick Rubens, needed to close by year-end, we moved quickly with zoning and highest-and-best-use analyses, as well as conceptual designs for redevelopment of the property. We received several viable offers and worked to negotiate the best price and terms—including a no-contingency contract—that enabled Rick to meet his closing timetable.”

The building is located on a prime parcel just west of DePaul University, and the demographics of the immediate area are excellent. Newcastle positioned the commercial building as a redevelopment opportunity for uses matching the current character of the residential and university neighborhood.

The steel and reinforced concrete building, which occupies a 32,185-square-foot site, provides frontage along North Racine, West Fullerton and West Medill Avenues. It has a red brick façade, 12-foot ceilings, loft-style windows and two depressed loading docks. The building’s structural capacity is sufficient to accommodate additional floors. DePaul has not yet announced its plans for the property.

Known as the “Rubens Baby Factory,” the building had been home since 1936 to Rubens & Marble, a manufacturer of high-quality cotton infant underwear used by hospitals nationwide to clothe newborn babies. Rubens & Marble thrived following World War II, serving the burgeoning Baby Boom market, but saw business begin to falter in the late eighties and nineties. The company closed its doors just before Thanksgiving.

At that time, a large inventory of unsold infant wear remained on the premises. As an advisor to numerous not-for-profit organizations, Newcastle performed an additional, unanticipated service to Rubens & Marble: helping to identify several worthy charities to receive donated infant clothing.

"I counted on Newcastle to take care of the disposition from start to finish," said Rick Rubens. "They found the most motivated buyer willing to pay the highest price and close quickly, without contingencies. The key was preparation. Before going to market, Newcastle carefully studied the property and negotiated with City officials on zoning issues to help us capitalize on the property’s development potential. Newcastle's proactive approach and responsiveness enabled my family to secure an unprecedented price and close on a short timetable. Simultaneously, DePaul acquired a strategic parcel to help meet its future requirements."

Other recent assignments successfully implemented by Newcastle Limited include the representation of Chicago-based Metropolitan Family Services in the $9,000,000 sale of its 116-acre Camp Algonquin on the Fox River to the McHenry County Conservation District; the representation of 73 property owners in the $35,000,000 sale of Chicago’s historic 78-year-old, 1,300,000-square-foot, 14-acre South Water Market produce terminal; and the representation of Loyola University Chicago in the disposition of its 17-acre Mallinckrodt Campus to the Wilmette (Illinois) Park District

About Newcastle Limited

Chicago-based Newcastle Limited is a national commercial real estate firm serving governmental agencies, institutions, not-for-profit organizations, corporations and private investors. The firm’s strategic advisory, development and investment services are designed to reduce project risk and maximize asset value. To learn more about Newcastle, call Mike Haney at (312) 252-1401 or visit the company website at www.newcastlelimited.com.