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Business

Former Cubby Bear North reopens as event venue

May 23, 2017

  • Jazmine Gonzalez
  • Una representación artística de Loft 21.
    An artist rendering of Loft 21.
  • Loft 21, un espacio de eventos privado abrió el 19 de mayo en Lincolnshire.
    Loft 21, a private event space opened May 19 in in Lincolnshire.

The former Cubby Bear North, once a popular place to watch sporting events, has been renovated into a trendy event space that opened May 19.

Big changes have been made at the Lincolnshire property that has a new owner and name. Jazmine Gonzalez, who owns an entertainment production company, bought the 31,000‐square‐foot former nightclub at 1501 N. Milwaukee Ave. and

changed the name toLoft 21.

“Loft 21 is an industrial, ultramodern event space with the ability to personalize every event,” Gonzalez said. There are many options, including sound, lighting, multiple video screens, movable walls and more, said Gonzalez. Her parents are from Mexico.

The venue can be divided to accommodate groups from 20 to 1,400. She said she’s been booking events since the renovation started last fall. Weddings, bar mitzvahs and corporate events have been popular so far.

“We are booking into 2020,” she said.

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‐basedHype Productions,an entertainment production company that offers a wide range of services including emcees, DJs, dancers, live entertainment, video production, interactive entertainment, specialty acts and limousines.

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 wanted to bring a venue to their backyard. She paid $2.5 million for the property.

Gonzalez, who lives in Crown Point, Indiana, with her husband and two daughters, said she was attracted to the 3‐acre site’s high‐traffic location. Hype Productions plans to relocate to Lincolnshire. The new owner had said she planned to spend $2.5 million to renovate the outside and interior of Cubby Bear North’s two‐story western‐looking building, which had been vacant since early 2014. Before that, the building housed Julie’s Country Western Saloon and Eatery, which opened in 1995. Gonzalez bought the property from longtime owner George Loukas.

“The building has been truly transformed from the sports bar look to something that’s elegant with a cool, hip vibe,” she said.

She is positive the business will be a success. “Failure is not an option in my life. I believe if you work hard, stay consistent, and maintain your morals and integrity, your true passion will shine through and lead to success,” she said.

Gonzalez, who grew up in the southern suburb of Sauk Village, said it’s her other business that made her realize that Loft 21 is exactly the type of venue the suburbs need.

Looking back, she says her work ethic comes from her parents, adding that she has learned many lifelong skills from playing softball. “Most of my life lessons have come from my team sport athletic experiences,” she says. Her determination and fearlessness comes from a childhood softball coach she recalls.

Gonzalez enjoys her career and where it’s headed. She says, “when you love what you do, it’s easier to handle the stress.”

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