New owner takes over Cubby Bear North in Lincolnshire

  • An entrepreneur wants to open a banquet hall on the site of the former Cubby Bear North on Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire.

    An entrepreneur wants to open a banquet hall on the site of the former Cubby Bear North on Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, file photo

Updated 10/31/2016 8:38 AM

The former Cubby Bear North, once a popular place to watch sporting events, has a new owner who has big plans for the property.

Jazmine Gonzalez, who owns an entertainment production company, bought the former nightclub and took possession Friday of the property at 1501 N. Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire. The new owner plans to turn the 31,000-square-foot building into an event space with an urban feel and call it Loft 21. Gonzalez, who also owns two bands, has been in the special event industry as an entertainment provider for more than two decades. She runs Northbrook-based Hype Productions, a high-end company that offers a wide range of services ranging from MC's, DJ's, dancers, live entertainment, video production, interactive entertainment and specialty acts and limousines.


"Construction is set to begin Nov. 1, with a target open date of April 1, 2017," said Keith KoKoruz, a friend of the owner who is also in the hospitality industry. "This will have a loft- meets-nightclub vibe to it," he said, adding that it will accommodate 600 people seated and 1,800 people cocktail style. "It will have an industrial, yet sexy vibe to it."

Gonzalez decided to purchase the building about 18 months ago, she said Friday shortly after she closed on what used to be a popular sports bar. "It has been a long process. But anything good is worth the wait," said the business owner who paid $2.5 million for the property.

She often works with elite event planners and clients on the North Shore who hold events in Chicago. Instead of them traveling to the city, Gonzalez, 41, wants to bring a venue to their backyard. "It's going to be an awesome Chicago loft-style venue located in the suburbs," said the business owner who lives in Crown Point, Indiana, with her husband and two daughters.

She said she is keen on the 3-acre site's high-traffic location. Hype Productions plans to relocate to Lincolnshire. The new owner said she plans to spend $2.5 million to renovate the outside and interior of the two-story western-looking building that has stood vacant since the Cubby Bear North closed in early 2014.

Gonzalez, who works with top business owners and professional athletes across the country, bought the property from longtime owner George Loukas. She added that she is a big fan of the Chicago Cubs. "It was very emotional walking through the space yesterday. This was an 18-month process and the timing of it all makes it even more special," she said.

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