Next up along the 606 trail: Shuffleboard
Brooklyn’s Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, whose tropical drinks, food trucks and social scene attracted a younger generation of players to a game associated with retirees, is planning a Chicago outpost.
The shuffleboard club plans to move into a 17,000-square-foot loft-style warehouse along the 606 elevated trail, Royal Palms co-owner Jonathan Schnapp said. Royal Palms hopes to open its second venue in Chicago by next summer.
The single-story building at 1760 N. Milwaukee Ave., near the 606 trailhead at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street, is owned by Chicago developer R2.
“We were searching a pretty long time to find what felt right to us,” Schnapp said. “We went to San Francisco, Austin, Philadelphia . . . None of them felt exactly right to us. We came here and kind of stayed in Bucktown and Wicker Park for a week, and really felt like these were our people. There were mature, cool people who like to have fun. We felt it would really work here.”
The deal will require a zoning change for the building, which is currently zoned for manufacturing uses, said R2 Managing Director Matt Garrison.
“We wanted to find a retail operator to use the existing building, and Royal Palms was in town looking for a second location,” Garrison said. “It’s a great location for retail, but 17,000 square feet is a large space for retail, even for food and beverage. What’s great about Royal Palms is, they need a lot of room for the shuffleboard courts, and there’s nothing else like it in Chicago.
“It’s a great match for the building, and it will allow us to preserve the building.”
Plans for the project were unveiled last night in a meeting with the Wicker Park Committee neighborhood group.
Like the original location, the Chicago venue is expected to feature a bay for food trucks to pull up to each night, Garrison said.
Owners Schnapp and Ashley Albert are world-ranked players who grew up playing shuffleboard with grandparents in Florida. They opened in a Brooklyn warehouse in 2014 and have attracted people in their 20s, 30s and 40s to a game long associated with retirees.
“The idea is to bring people back to what it was like to be a kid on vacation,” Schnapp said. “A lot of people had that experience of playing shuffleboard when they were on vacation. We try to bring that back to people’s lives, and they respond in a really nice way.”
The building at 1760 N. Milwaukee needs extensive work, Garrison said.
“This is the kind of thing that needs to be at the trailheads of the 606,” Garrison said. “I think they’re going to do great.”