May 4, 2011

The University of Chicago and HSA Commercial are bringing Clarke’s, a 24-hour Chicago-area diner, to 53rd Street in Hyde Park.

Clarke’s has signed a lease and will occupy 4,000 square feet at 1451 East 53rd Street. The building was purchased by the University earlier this month, and the remaining space in the building is currently occupied by T-Mobile.

Established in 1986, Clarke’s has existing locations in Lincoln Park, Evanston, Lakeview, and Bucktown, as well as a new location to open soon in River North. The restaurant addresses a longstanding interest among students and other community members for more late-night dining options.

“We look forward to serving the Hyde Park area as always with quality food and quality customer service,” said Steve Dion, owner of Clarke’s restaurants. “We are also excited about the future plans of development in Hyde Park, and we are eager to be part of it.”

The late-night eatery is the latest business to declare its intentions for Hyde Park’s commercial corridor, following announcements this spring of plans for a hotel, a movie theater, and another restaurant. Together with the mixed-use development at Harper Court, the new businesses reflect the initiative of the community, the City, and the University to promote new vitality along the corridor.

University officials and HSA Commercial announced in January that Five Guys restaurant would become the inaugural tenant in the retail and theater buildings at 53rd Street and Harper Avenue. The buildings, which are owned and currently being renovated by the University, will also house The New 400 Theaters, a local movie operator that will showcase art, children’s, and wide-release films when it opens in 2012.

“We are continuing to work closely with the community and the City to bring the right mix of restaurants and retail businesses along with entertainment venues to Hyde Park that residents and students have been asking for to help improve the quality of life,” said James Hennessy, Director of Commercial Real Estate Operations for the University.

The University is also partnering with the City and civic leaders to build a mixed-use complex as part of an ambitious redevelopment of the Harper Court property. The project, which is slated for completion in 2013, will include 150,000 square feet of office leased to the University of Chicago, 440 parking spaces, and approximately 80,000 square feet of retail space in addition to the hotel. Last December, Vermilion Development signed an agreement with Smart Hotels to develop a 130-room Hyatt Place hotel in Harper Court, which is slated to become the centerpiece of the development.

Additional retail and entertainment announcements are expected within the next few months.

HSA Commercial represents the University of Chicago in leasing and management services. Kelsey Blindt and Michael Havdala represented HSA Commercial in the transaction, and Dan Moon of Moon LLC represented Clarke’s Diner.

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