New owner to pursue downtown apartments for Manchester Square in Libertyville

A key corner in downtown Libertyville has a new owner who intends to fill the unfinished space in a prominent building with apartments.

Cedar Street Companies, a Chicago-based holding company, has acquired Manchester Square, a three-story building at the southwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Lake Street, for $7.15 million, according to information released Monday by the village.

The company had been tracking the deal for more than a year and worked with a court-appointed receiver to buy the building, according to a company spokeswoman.

“This acquisition continues Cedar Street’s ability to take high-potential assets and reposition them for future development opportunities,” CEO Alex Samoylovich said in a statement.

The ground floor is 85 percent occupied by Egg Harbor Cafe, Casa Bonita, Shakou Sushi and Tommy’s Pizza but the remainder of the three-story building is incomplete. Cedar Street cited the premier location — a block from the Metra station in an area well traveled by pedestrians — as being the impetus for the move.

Construction of Manchester Square began in 2007 more than four years after the Bonzai Motor Sports building collapsed in a storm. Luxury condos and penthouses, some initially priced at more than $1 million, had been planned for the upper floors by developer Joe Tremont.

Cedar Street said it intends to complete the residential build out on the third floor and convert office units on the second floor to residential use, resulting in about 30 apartments. The company expects to spend about $3 million to finish the building, with work to start about six months after the designs are complete and densities are determined.

In the statement announcing the deal, Mayor Terry Weppler described the building as a “strong anchor” downtown.

“With proximity to numerous restaurants, stores and the Metra train station, we are confident the new residential units that Cedar Street develops will quickly be occupied and add to the vibrancy of our downtown,” Weppler said.

Downtown living also is being pursued in another development proposed by M/I Homes of Naperville. Its Liberty Station community would feature 80 townhouses on land west of Brainerd Avenue and south of the Metra tracks.

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