Fulton Market Food Wholesaler Cashing Out

A Buffalo Grove-based investor is buying the Nealey Foods property in the heart of the trendy neighborhood.

A suburban real estate investor is picking up one of the last remaining industrial properties waiting to be redeveloped in the heart of the Fulton Market District.

Buffalo Grove-based Shorewood Development Group is under contract to purchase a former food wholesaling property on the 900 block of Fulton Market from Nealey Foods, Shorewood Founding Partner and CEO Louis Schriber confirmed.

The sale price for the four buildings, totaling roughly 25,000 square feet, at 900-914 W. Fulton Market is unclear, as the deal is not scheduled to close until next month. Nealey had been seeking around $600 per square foot for its two Fulton Market properties combined: the one Shorewood is buying and the 33,000 square feet of brick industrial buildings across the street that are also under contract to be sold next month to a venture backed by Oak Brook-based Huizenga Capital Management.

But the Huizenga property is worth far more per square foot because the buildings can be demolished for redevelopment, whereas three of the four buildings Shorewood is buying are considered "contributing" to the Fulton-Randolph Market landmark district, meaning they cannot be demolished nor their exteriors drastically altered.

Schriber, whose development firm made its first Fulton Market purchase last fall when it paid $3.2 million for a retail building at 1009 W. Lake St., joins the party of developers transforming the neighborhood from a meatpacking district into a corporate destination and hotbed of upscale hotels, restaurants and retailers.

The Nealey property is a symbol of the types of business that dominated the corridor for the better part of a century until the city relaxed zoning there, greasing the skids for Google, McDonald's and other corporate giants to move in.

Other business that paved the way by selling their properties in recent years include Fulton Market Cold Storage, Quality Food Products, Aspen Foods and John R. Morreale Meat. Nealey, which could not be reached for comment, originally put its Fulton Market properties up for sale in 2016.

Schriber declined to share specifics of his plan for the property, which Nealey vacated in 2017 when it relocated to the 3300 block of South Pulaski Road in South Lawndale.

"It's going to be consistent with the neighborhood," said Schriber, who said his firm has mostly done infill shopping center development in Chicago and elsewhere in the Midwest.

The Nealey property today is surrounded by construction as other developers build out ambitious projects along Fulton Market.

The buildings are adjacent to an old industrial building that the parent company of Time Out Chicago is converting into a 50,000-square-foot food hall. Across the street, snack maker Mondelez International will soon move into a redeveloped building at 905 W. Fulton Market. Meanwhile, Google has been talking to developers near its Midwest headquarters at 1000 W. Fulton Market about doubling the company's already massive footprint in the neighborhood to about 1 million square feet.

Colliers International Executive Vice Presidents Vern Schultz and Michael Senner are representing Nealey in the property sale.