Is Phil Danny the king of the West Loop or its buffoon?

The sole owner of Peppercorn Capital, one of the largest landowners in the West Loop, said he wanted to be known as a “wealthy clown”.

He recently took on the role, appearing at the closing party of a $32 million auction in a costume made of cardboard boxes similar to the one that manufacturing incubator mHub bought from his company on North Ashland Avenue. Three-story brick building at 240.

After that sale, Peppercorn made new purchases and now owns the entire 1800 block of Westlake Street, as well as most of the 1700 block across the street. Assembly was completed on May 10 and the total cost of the package was $7.5 million, Danny said.

Danny, who has been bullish on the Near West End for more than 15 years, said his vision for the property — which he plans to sell to a developer — depends on the day the city approves zoning for a residential high-rise in the area, currently an industrial zone . With the new Green Line “L” station on Damen Avenue due to be completed next year, and the thriving Illinois Medical District nearby, he believes his predictions of more housing density allowed in the area will pay off.

“It’s more about my level of belief that this is a foregone conclusion. It might not happen in five years, but if it does, I’ll have the necessary assets to assemble the development,” Danny said. “Infill is happening from all three sides of the area, west of the United Center, east of Fulton Market, and south of the medical district. That’s why I think zoning changes are inevitable.”

Denny’s next move is funded by proceeds from his sale of 240 North Ashland to a not-for-profit manufacturing incubator hub. Denny bought the property in 2013 for $13 million.

Despite his investment proficiency, he said in an email real deal The antics, which involve clothing made out of cardboard boxes depicting buildings, probably wouldn’t fly at other major Chicago real estate firms—and he’s fine with that.

“The downside of these pranks,” Danny asserted, “is that I may never be hired by Sterling Bay or Shapack Partners.”

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