Gidwitz family to build nearly 500 apartments in Skokie | Crain’s Chicago Business

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The Gidwitzes have owned the 6.2-acre site for nearly six decades, but they’re better known for shampoo and politics than they are for real estate. The family owned Helene Curtis Industries, a personal-care products company with brands including Suave shampoo and Degree antiperspirant, selling the business in 1996 to Unilever for about $770 million.

More recently, patriarch Ron Gidwitz has kept himself busy as a top Republican fundraiser, including serving as Illinois finance chairman for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. While in the White House, Trump appointed Gidwitz ambassador to Belgium and acting U.S. envoy to the European Union.

Gidwitz’s son, Scott Gidwitz, a former executive at the John Buck Co., is leading the Skokie project. At the meeting last night, he told trustees that he had has been exploring development options for the property for more than three years. The parcel currently includes three single-story buildings that are “functionally obsolete,” he said.

Unable to come up with a workable retail project on the site, Gidwitz switched to apartments, culminating with the proposal approved by the village board last night.  

Designed by Chicago-based FitzGerald Associates, the development will include a pair of nearly identical seven-story buildings constructed in two phases. The first one will include 251 apartments, the second, 243.

“It brings a fresh housing stock into an area of Skokie that will thrive as a result of it,” attorney Steven Elrod, who represents the Gidwitz family, told the board at its meeting.

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September 20, 2022 at 06:02PM

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