M-K Signs

M-K Signs

As one of the largest sign producers on the northwest side of Chicago, M-K Signs has stood the test of time. Ralph and Tony Cilia have run the business for over 50 years. In 1984, they purchased the building at 4900 N. Elston Ave. They expanded their business and became the go-to sign producer for the City of Chicago, O’Hare International Airport, Superdawg, and the City Colleges of Chicago. They also designed and produced the iconic Rosemont Rose signage. Finally, in 2012, M-K was a part of the removal and restoration of the historic Santa Fe train sign that sat on top of the Railways Exchange Building in Chicago. After being completely renovated by M-K Signs, it was placed on display at the Illinois Railroad Museum. Their expertise and precision work can be seen all throughout Illinois. They truly are one of the most skilled, capable, and experienced sign companies in the industry.

Photo from: Chicago Eater

The M-K Signs Sale Leaseback Deal

In 2005, Lichter Realty, Inc. acquired the building from M-K. They had been in the building for a long time and the business was passed the start-up and growth cycles. They wanted to put more capital back into their business, so selling the property would allow them to unlock and unleash that extra money. Lichter Realty, Inc. proposed a cash offer with no contingencies and a quick closing. We then assisted M-K with demising the property and fitting them to a space that would better fit their business and monetary needs. M-K was able to infuse capital into their business and see better margins, because we gave them a fair and flexible lease term.

From the very first time meeting Tom, I knew leasing the space we once owned was a no-brainer! They accommodated us after we downsized. The initial plan was to stay here for about 5 years and we are still here 12 years later.

After taking care of M-K, we recaptured the beauty of the property by redeveloping and leasing the newly freed up space. We still oversee the operations and maintenance at the building and enjoy the wonderful, working relationship we continue to have with M-K Signs.

Check out this great video of the Santa Fe sign: