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Boystown’s Brompton Auto Shop to Become New Preschool

The former auto shop was once eyed to be the second location for West Hollywood’s Abbey bar.

Boystown's Brompton Auto Garage to be turned into a new Chicago Learning Place preschool.
Boystown's Brompton Auto Garage to be turned into a new Chicago Learning Place preschool.

Children’s Learning Place is headed to Boystown, signing a 15-year lease at the former Brompton Body Shop, Chicago Real Estate Daily is reporting.

The more than 12,000-square-foot building at 3532 N. Halsted St. was once eyed by West Hollywood’s most famous nightclub The Abbey, with developers hoping to open a second location in Chicago.

However, after being confronted with extremely high cleanup costs to deal with environmental hazards left behind from the former business, the group momentarily backed away.

Now Children’s Learning Place is planning to invest about $1.5 million to remodel the piece of prime real estate, CRED writes. The school will be open to 140 children with plans to open fall of 2014.

Chicago Learning Place has locations in Logan Square, Bucktown and Streeterville. 

Derrick Sorles August 08, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Neighborhood residents were concerned about the potential traffic from the OUT HOTEL - but this place - no one is worried about 120 mom's picking up their kids when classes let out? ARE YOU NUTS??
Gunnery Sgt Hartman August 08, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Have you ever seen operations at a daycare? First, half the people will drop-off on foot much of the year, and the times will pretty much be restricted to weekdays, between 8-9 am and 3-5 pm. No night traffic, no weekend traffic, no cabs standing, nothing like that.
Eric Euting August 08, 2013 at 05:29 PM
So the $1.5 M remodel cost includes the "extremely high" cost of cleaning up the hazardous waste and creating the school?
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) August 08, 2013 at 06:44 PM
^I would assume so. The Abbey didn't want to have to deal with it.
Jeff Friedman August 08, 2013 at 10:51 PM
I always wanted Piece Pizza ( in Wicker Park) to locate in this spot. Oh well. But a pre-school is good news too! If they see a business opportunity, then it's a good sign that our community is attracting a broader range of people. Something wholesome on Halsted! Refreshing, I love it. But, I don't imagine the teachers are going to be walking the kids either south or north. Storefronts selling sex toys and Center on Halsted clientele talking and acting trashy; not exactly G-rated.
gdhpatch August 08, 2013 at 11:08 PM
This is a great development! It's also indicative of how the neighborhood has changed - it's no longer boystown except for the bars.
Terrence Williams August 08, 2013 at 11:28 PM
How does one market a former toxic dump to parents looking for day care? Should be interesting to see. Of course, most of the parents will never know and those of us who DO know will just shake our little heads.
John Prusnick August 09, 2013 at 09:14 AM
The gayborhood is changing. First it was Whole Foods, then Walmart, now a preschool. What's next? A local office for the RNC? Wonder if there will be increased business for the Ram after daddy drops his kids off on the way to work. ;-)
Greg J August 09, 2013 at 09:35 AM
CPS closed over 50 school buildings this year and not one of them is suitable as a preschool??? It makes more financial sense to invest $1.5 Million in a former auto shop with toxic dump problems to try to make it into a school???
Paul T. Rykiel August 09, 2013 at 09:48 AM
I am glad to see that eyesore go, but sad to see boystown be turned into this. It is a testament to the gay community that we cleaned up the area over the past 30 years enough to where parents with children need a daycare, but yet ... why in an entertainment district. so, how long before they force all of these adult oriented stores to close? you know they will, which i think is sad with all of the other places in lakeview to open up, why on Halsted? And where is the public outcry? Sorry, not happy about this!!!
Derrick Sorles August 09, 2013 at 10:18 AM
So if someone wants to takeover a building and open a business, can they? without the vote of the Alderman, the Triangle neighbors and Belmont Harbor? - Is it just for building something new, that support is required?
TheDoctor1963 August 09, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Hmmm makes sense with all those schools that just closed -- but then those buildings are SOOOO huge, don't forget. Preschool is usually just one big room,I think> I dunno -its been so long since I went ;)
John Scofic August 09, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Did this article get lifted from "the Onion"? I agree that building is huge! What kind of volume are they going for (with the attendant "Range Rover style Double Wide strollers)? At least for the school on Hawthrone Place the street is one way and the school gets the parking lane. This will be a clusterf...
Jeff Friedman August 10, 2013 at 01:54 AM
My assumption is that this business doesn't need any approvals from community groups or Alderman because they're not asking for zoning variances. I think a pre-school can co-exist near the "adults only" businesses nearby. And, I don't think you'll see the gay community's presence vanish anytime soon. Those huge phallic pride towers and Hall of fame tributes along Halsted look like they're here to stay.
JR August 11, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Only the soil is contaminated underneath it. They are not tearing the building down just remodeling it as it stands so none of the contaminated soil will be messed with. Other interested parties were going to tear the building down and build a new structure and that would have forced them to clean up the contaminated soil. And a lot of properties in Chicago are contaminated. And get over it this is mixed neighborhood. As a GLBT person this is awesome we have come a long way to have this on Halsted in Boystown. That's acceptance.
JR August 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM
The only Adult oriented store that needs toned down or at least window treatments is the Dildo shop. Gay or Straight parents you don't want to have to explain to your 2 to 7 year old what they are. Or have your little kid want to go in and look at them then want you to buy him one because of the colors of them and doesn't know what they are. I am ashamed as a GLBT person of people bashing perceived straight people with kids. You know gay couples have children too. And the GLBT community is not responsible for cleaning up East Lakeview. One street didn't clean it all up. It's progress things change and evolve.
gdhpatch August 11, 2013 at 11:51 AM
We in the neighborhood were yelled at to "embrace change". Well, we are.....and this pre-school more than anything else reflects the change that has occurred in the neighborhood. Someone asked, "where's the public outcry?" There wont be any except from those who need to embrace the change themselves.
Roscoe Resident August 25, 2013 at 10:59 PM
There will be problems with a pre-school located there. Remember The Dakota and Circuit? excerpt: Liquor License Restrictions and Special Regulations: Proximity to Churches, Schools, Homes for the Aged, Day Care Centers Licenses for the retail sale of alcoholic liquor will not be issued for establishments within 100 feet of any church (some exceptions to this rule exist pertaining to locations near churches), school (other than an institution of higher learning), hospital, or home for the aged or indigent. In some cases, day care centers may be classified as schools. Distances are measured in several ways: the distance from a church is measured from the property line of the licensed premises to the nearest part of any building used for worship services or educational programs; the distance from a school is measured from the property line of the school to the property line of the premises to be licensed. Streets, alleys and public ways are included in the measurements mentioned above.
Paul T. Rykiel August 26, 2013 at 10:48 AM
it is not that we are not embracing change in the neighborhood... it is where they want to locate a day-care center. Halsted Street is a busy street in the entertainment district, it is unique in that you have so many interesting and provative shops. How are they going to remodel that eyesore of structure, which looks like it is going to crumble to the ground? And what about all of the traffic increase for people dropping off their kids? You people bitch and complain about the traffic one little botique hotel is going to create, which has addressed the problem of traffic by including 30 parking spaces, but what about this? That is my point, and I embrace change, but it is not change if people are trying to supress you or kick you out of your space, to make room for their boring gentrified existence.
Meg Dickson Feldman April 09, 2014 at 12:29 AM
I think this might be a really good thing. It's at the very north end of the block where it's not sitting in the middle of shops/bars, and it's a horrible deteriating structure that, once renovated, will improve the property value of the neighborhood from beautifying it and offering another "early learning academy". As a parent of a 3 yr old, this is big money and draw. My position is, what parent is going to enroll there that isn't already familiar and respectful of the neighborhood? Perhaps I'm naive, but for instance, I live here, am raising my family here, this is our neighborhood, street, parks, grocery that we walk on/to whenever we can, so I'd never expect the neighborhood to change b/c of a small school location and we don't want it to. I'm under the assumption that it's opening is a reflection on the areas open-mindedness and amazing folks Lakeview and boystown is inhabited by. Remember, across the street from this location is a Jewish school. Everyone has lived side by side for years with no censorship type crap needed to coexist. Regarding traffic/pick-up issues, luckily, halsted right there is a bit wider but regardless, these early learning establishments are not 150 kids entering/exiting everyday at the same time. The 150 kids are spread out by days (some go 2 days, 3, or 5) and times (some do half days, some leave at 3, some as late as 6:30). Mornings could be the only time you'd notice it, but Cops will sit in front and make sure parents are in and out during morning rush hour times, they do that at the JCYS on Waveland out of respect for the neighborhood residents. Afternoons/evenings, there might be 10 parents at once picking up. Tops. Finally, with regard to radius of schools to bars, etc, it's obviously not an issue. The Jewish school is right there and has been for years. Neddelhorst is also surrounded by Broadway fun. If there ever were an arguement, it's a private center, no govt, state funding.

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