Posts tagged with "uptown":

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Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood gains landmark status

The Chicago City Council has voted to bestow landmark status on the Uptown Square District on the city’s north side. The designation protects 42 historically significant structures including some of Chicago’s most notable theaters. “Characterized by highly stylized, mixed-use buildings and performance spaces, the area is considered one of the best-surviving commercial and entertainment districts developed in Chicago in the early part of the 20th century, according to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, which recommended the designation in October,” noted the City Council in a press release. The area is filled with structures clad with intricately detailed terra-cotta facades. A wide range of styles is represented in the area including Art Deco, Venetian Gothic and Spanish Baroque Revival. The work of important Chicago architects such as Marshall and Fox, Rapp and Rapp, John Eberson, J.E.O. Pridemore, Walter Ahlschlager, and Huszagh and Hill are also represented in the district. The district is home to the Riviera Theater, the Aragon Ballroom, and the famed Green Mill jazz club. There are also individually landmarked buildings including the Uptown Theater, former Sheridan Trust and Savings Bank, and the Mutual Insurance Building. The district is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, which makes available Federal Historic Tax Credits, but does not protect the buildings from demolition or alteration. Landmark Illinois, a preservation advocacy group, has been working to get the Uptown district for the past 15 years. The designation from the city provides protection through the building permit process. Any work involving designated properties must be approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Along with reviewing permit applications, the Commission works with applicants in providing guidance on preserving significant historical or architectural features. The year also saw Row Houses in Lincoln Park, the Plymouth Building in the South Loop, and the Bertrand Goldberg-designed Marina City, among others, given status as historic landmarks.
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This purr-worthy, $7 million cat shelter in Chicago includes a “catfé”

Chicago-area cats unlucky enough to see the inside of an animal shelter can rest a little easier starting next year, when Tree House Humane Society's $7 million rescue and care facility is expected to open, “catfé” and all. Chicago architects Dobbins Group designed the purr-worthy space, which in renderings boasts a full-service public vet clinic for cats and dogs, pristine adoption rooms, a pet food pantry and supply store, an education center, and a cafe where visitors can sip coffee and spend time with the animals. The new building, 7225 North Western Avenue, would have enough room to house 150 animals—about the same capacity as Tree House's current facilities in Uptown, but with more space for each animal to roam around. The new facility will also allow Tree House to move out of a converted single-family home at 1212 West Carmen Avenue, where they have cared for some 35,000 cats and other animals since 1971. An anonymous donor gifted the West Rogers Park site to Tree House, which so far has raised $5 million in private donations for the building's construction. They're still looking for another $2 million. For DNAinfo Chicago, Linze Rice found out Tree House retained several "cat-lebrities" in their design studies:
During the design process, Tree House organizers sought expert advice on everything from feline behaviorists to cat style experts. Kate Benjamin, founder of Hauspanther Design, worked with the nonprofit to help design natural living spaces, and Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist known from the Animal Planet TV series “My Cat From Hell” was consulted to help create a stimulating environment.
A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for May.
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Crumbling temples, South Side landmarks, neon signs top list of Chicago’s “most threatened” buildings

Preservation Chicago Wednesday named the seven Chicago structures on their annual list of the city's most threatened historic buildings, calling attention to vacant or blighted buildings from Englewood to Uptown that include a crumbling masonic temple, defunct factories, and even a South Side city landmark. 1. South Side Masonic Temple, 6400 S. Green Street

Architect Clarence Hatzfield's 1921 temple was built in a very different Englewood than today's. At the time, the South Side neighborhood was home to the second busiest commercial corridor in the city after downtown. Vacant for decades, the classically detailed building has an outstanding demolition permit.

“It's a prominent and vibrant structure that really deserves a reuse plan,” said Preservation Chicago's Ward Miller. The building made their list in 2004, as well as similar watch lists from sister organization Landmarks Illinois in 2003–2004 and 2009–2010. “We really think this is the last call for the Masonic temple,” Miller said. 2. Main Building, 3300 S. Federal St. This vacant, red brick structure is visible from the Dan Ryan Expressway, its 1890s splendor a unique presence on the mostly modernist campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. IIT, which owns the Chicago landmark, has not been an absent landlord, however, renovating its interior over the years and recently putting out a request for proposals on the Romanesque revival structure. Nonetheless structural issues threaten this Patten & Fisher building that predates the 1893 Columbian Exposition. 3. A. Finkl & Sons Company Buildings, Kingsbury & The North Branch of the Chicago River Comprising 28 acres of land along the north branch of the Chicago River, this defunct industrial complex has an uncertain future. Once a symbol of Chicago's industrial might, this former manufacturing corridor churned out leather and forged steel. Now it's flanked with wealthy residential communities, its original industrial tenants gone for greener pastures. In 2014 Finkl & Sons moved their operations to Chicago's southeast side, provoking questions about the site's future that Robin Amer explored in detail for the magazine Rust Belt. 4. Agudas Achim North Shore Synagogue, 5029 N. Kenmore Ave. An historic synagogue on a residential block in Uptown, Agudas Achim boasts an unusual blend of architectural styles, mixing Spanish and Romanesque revival flourishes with Art Deco detailing. Brilliant stained glass windows and strange details in the 1922 building's 2,200-seat sanctuary shine through the building's dilapidation, which is substantial after years of vacancy. 5. Clarendon Park Community Center, 4501 N. Clarendon St.

The Clarendon Park Community Center and Field House, originally called the Clarendon Municipal Bathing Beach, is now a community center and field house. When it was built in 1916, its Mediterranean-revival, resort-style design was meant to remind Chicagoans of Lake Michigan's splendor. That meant it was also supposed to erase memories of cholera outbreaks and squalor along the shores of a rapidly industrializing, young city.

Changes to the structure, particularly in 1972, led to water infiltration and roof issues, as well as alterations to the building's historic towers and colonnades. It sits in a tax-increment financing district adjacent to another threatened building, the historic Cuneo Hospital. Miller suggested the two could be saved and redeveloped together.

6. Pioneer Arcade & New Apollo Theater, 1535-1541 N. Pulaski Rd.

Another former commercial corridor that has fallen on tough times, the area around North & Pulaski in West Humboldt Park retains several important works of 1920s architecture that include some of the city's best Spanish Colonial Revival design.

Restoring the commercial structures to their former glory may prove challenging, but Preservation Chicago hopes previous attempts to redevelop individual buildings could coalesce into a larger restoration project using national and local historic rehabilitation tax incentives.

7. Neon signs

Not a building but an essential part of the city's built environment, Chicago's de facto public art gallery of neon signs overhanging public streets is under threat. Donald Trump's sign notwithstanding, many of the commercial advertisements on Chicago streets are beloved local icons. Many are also code violations in waiting, so the challenge is to find and fix up historic signs while scrapping rusted-out, replaceable ones. DNAinfo Chicago collected a few of their readers' favorite neon signs, which you can see here.

Visit Curbed Chicago for a map of city showing all seven buildings. More information on the list can be found on Preservation Chicago's website.
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Chicago’s Wilson CTA Station gets a $203 million makeover

Patrons of the Chicago Transit Authority's 91-year-old Wilson station (above) on the El's Red Line will be happy to learn the city broke ground this week on its long-planned, $203 million Wilson Station Reconstruction Project. The track structure is more than 100 years old. The Uptown station has been somewhat of a squeaky wheel in the CTA system, with neighborhood residents calling for improvements for years. The new station house will be ADA-compliant and, as CTA explained, feature myriad other improvements:
The project will also include significant track and structural work that will allow for easy and convenient transfers between the Red Line and Purple Line Express; enhance the street-level environment on Broadway; and improve CTA operations. New, brighter lighting and the installation of more than 100 security cameras throughout the stations and its three entrances will help improve customer safety. Additionally, the restoration of the 1923 stationhouse facade and former clock tower (at the corner of Wilson/Broadway) would make it a viable space for future retail or business development, thus creating an anchor for revitalization and economic development in the Uptown neighborhood.
It's one of the biggest (and costliest) overhauls in CTA history, and is part of the agency's $1 billion "Red Ahead" initiative to modernize the north branch of the Red and Purple Lines. CTA rebuilt the south branch last year, streamlining construction with massive closures—a strategy that angered some area residents. Elsewhere on the Red Line, 95th Street—the line's southern terminus—is getting an inspired revamp led by Parsons Brinkerhoff and Johnson & Lee, with art from Theaster Gates.
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Explore 150 Chicago Buildings During This Weekend’s Free Open House

Last year's Open House Chicago sent architecture enthusiasts skittering around the city to explore a fraction of the 150 sites open to the public during one October weekend. This year the Chicago Architecture Foundation presents the third annual Open House, and it will be no less impossible to see all that the free de facto festival has to offer. The buildings (view a full site list here) are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20. Lincoln Park Patch.com has a guide to that neighborhood’s spots, including The Midwest Buddhist Temple and the Brewster (Lincoln Park Palace) apartments, the building from which an aging water tower plummeted in July. Pick a neighborhood (13 are featured), or a category, to line up your own itinerary. Nineteen architecture offices are open to the public, as are three Frank Lloyd Wright houses (Robie, Charnley-Persky, Emil Bach). You can follow the Foundation’s “sustainability trail” to stops like The Plant, a meatpacking facility turned net-zero vertical farm, power plant-turned-high school Power House High, and Uptown's "Greenrise".
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Chicago Developer Eyes Endangered Cuneo Hospital for Arts Center

The vacant Frank Cuneo Memorial Hospital in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood faces demolition to make way for the $220 million “Maryville” residential project, but the developer of Chicago’s Green Exchange has a plan to save the 1957 Edo Belli-designed building. David Baum, of Baum Development, said his plan to turn Cuneo into a neighborhood hub for Uptown’s artistic community would not require any subsidies. The rival plan from JDL Development calls for luxury apartments and $32 million of TIF funding. But the two may not be mutually exclusive. JDL’s plan calls for development along the west side of Clarendon Avenue, while Cuneo is on the east. Baum’s plan awaits the approval of an architectural engineer who could vet the building’s structural integrity and help solidify plans for redevelopment. Cuneo made Preservation Chicago's list of seven most endangered buildings in 2012.