Crescere Capital’s Chris Hotze, who owns the Shops at Oak Forest, opened his second big development in the area — 33 1/3 @ Thirtyfourth on the corner of 34th Street and Ella Boulevard — in the spring of 2018.
As the owner of additional local properties, there is still more development to come.
In 2016, he purchased the former Gospel Truth Pentecostal Church at 1624 W. 34th St. when the congregation moved to a bigger facility on West Road. The building where the church was, built in 1970, is 7,000 square feet.
Two years ago, Hotze had an architect provide some ideas to repurpose the church. “Lawnchair” was one conceptual plan that imagines the structure as a restaurant.
“The focus on a restaurant comes from the market demand we are seeing and the area’s desire for more restaurant options,” Hotze said. “The density of the area and transition with families and residents makes restaurants want to be here.”
However, Hotze said there are many other options.
“It could be repurposed for any number of uses — especially any requiring plenty of parking,” he said. “The building fronts 34th Street, with parking lots in back, fronting both 34th 1/2 Street in back and Couch Street on the west side. There are different ways to set up a property like this as an event venue, a restaurant or multi-restaurant destination. The ample parking and ability to get in and out of the site make it that much more user-friendly and a potential for multiple tenants.”
Now that 33 1/3 is fully tenanted, Crescere recently signed an agreement with Christie Amezquita and Suzy Thompson at Shop Companies to list the property for lease.
And that is not the only activity on the corner. Hotze plans a Phase 2 to 33 1/3 that would be an additional building in the spot where he initially planned to have a lawn and food trucks.
“There is a great deal of interest on the corner and the focus has transitioned to a more permanent use that creates a destination and sense of community with a quality retail tenant,” Hotze said. “The increased restaurant density and high traffic flow in the area make the corner extremely sought after.”
In other 34th Street news, Summit Path Investments LLC, led by John DeMeritt, has purchased El Mante Tires Shop #1 at 1702 W. 34th St. There is 15,130 square feet of land to be developed at the site. DeMeritt is the previous owner of the Lost Forest Tennis Club and is affiliated with several other limited liability corporations.
“[The tire shop] will definitely change from its current condition,” DeMeritt told The Leader. “We are looking at some options but don’t know what it will be yet.”
On the southwest corner of 34th and Ella, Revive Development has started construction on a new medical building in Ella Oaks Center. Its first tenant will be Dr. Christopher Chance, a pediatric dentist.