Posts tagged with "Wicker Park":

Wicker Park gets the gyro it deserves

At the ever-busy, ever-changing “Six Points” intersection in Wicker Park, Chicago, a new Greek restaurant in a highly finished setting is anything but your average gyro joint. DOX Quality Greek sets itself apart by serving Athenian street food prepared by a chef who has also worked at Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. Designed by Athens-based k-studio, the furniture, fixtures, pay counter, and order windows all fit within a white three-dimensional tartan grid. The subdued material palette mixes wood slatting, white terrazzo flooring, white tiles, and dusty blue fabrics. Due to the constrained triangular block on which it sits, the restaurant is wider than it is deep—odd for most Chicago storefronts—allowing for a bright interior lit by a proportionally long glass facade. The simple interior matches the straightforward menu, inviting the throngs of pedestrians pouring out of a nearby L station to step into a little piece of Athens.
DOX Quality Greek 1566 North Damen Avenue Chicago Tel: (872) 829-3144 Architects: K Studio

Wheeler Kearns’s coffee and record shop Purple Llama boasts a giant faceted ferrous steel bar

A massive faceted ferrous steel bar anchors the Purple Llama, a new coffee shop and curated record store situated along popular Division Street in Chicago’s Wicker Park. The idea for the record store–coffee shop comes from the owners’ experience in the rich coffee scene in London, while the angular form of the space is derived from the company’s quirky purple branding. Dan Wheeler and Emmanuel Garcia of Wheeler Kearns Architects worked closely with brand designer Brian W. Jones of Welcome to develop the space. Besides the imposing bar, one side of the 1,000-square-foot shop is defined by a faceted bright wood wall, while the opposite end is filled with a cartoon landscape of mountaintop llamas and the Chicago skyline. In the back, a “records vault” displays a small selection of vinyl records on built-in shelving. Purple Llama Coffee & Records 2140 West Division Street Chicago Tel: (773) 687-9900 Architect: Wheeler Kearns Architects

A newly remodeled 1920s building adds to Chicago’s growing list of boutique tower hotels

Apparently, Chicago has an insatiable hunger for boutique hotels in vintage Chicago skyscrapers. In 2015, the newly renovated downtown Chicago Athletic Association (CAA) became the go-to hang-out for architects during the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Virgin opened anew hotel in the 1928 Old Dearborn Bank Building; Goettsch Partners has completed the LondonHouse Hotel in the 1923 London Guarantee Building; and the 1928 Chicago Motor Club, the 1929 Carbon and Carbide Building, and the Burnham and Root–designed 1895 Reliance building have been converted into a Hampton Inn, a Hard Rock Hotel, and Kimpton Burnham Hotel, respectively. Now, another “new hotel, old building” is opening outside of this downtown cluster, to much fanfare.

The Robey hotel, named after the historic street name of what is today Damen Avenue, is located at the major intersection of Damen Avenue, North Avenue, and Milwaukee Avenue, an area called Six Points in Wicker Park. Located in a 1929 building officially known as the Northwest Tower, and more locally known as the Coyote Building, the 12-story art deco tower is the tallest building by far in the neighborhood. It is a local icon, and for decades it was the center of an annual arts festival called Around the Coyote. In the more recent past, however, the tower has laid largely empty, often on the verge of bankruptcy.

Over the last three years, the Coyote Building has been transformed with major brickwork repair, all new windows, and a flagpole and Robey flag atop the building’s cupola. Chicago-based Antunovich Associates was the architect of record on the project, with design work by Brussels offices Nicolas Schuybroek Architects and Marc Merckx Interiors. The hotel is being managed by the Mexican hoteliers Grupo Habita.

Along with the hotel, the building includes a hostel called the Hollander, three restaurants, two bars, and a small rooftop pool. The hotel itself has 69 rooms, including rooms in the sharp southeast corner with unblocked views of downtown, three miles away. The rooftop Cabana Club bar and restaurant on the roof also offers panoramic views of the city.

When the Northwest Tower was designed by Perkins, Chatten & Hammond in the 1920s, it was one of the first towers outside of Chicago’s downtown. Since then, it has remained one of the tallest to not be in the city’s center or along the lakefront. Though a handful of slightly shorter transit-oriented developments are popping up in the Robey’s vicinity, it is unlikely that it will lose its status as an icon of the near northwest side.

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Development ramps up in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, provokes class tensions

Bigger developments are targeting Logan Square lately, sparking local debates about what direction is best for the majority Latino neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side. Over at Curbed Chicago, Logan Square resident AJ LaTrace has been hitting the hyperlocal beat hard. Lately he scooped renderings from the online forum Skyscraper page that were later confirmed to be proposals for the redevelopment of the Discount Mega Mall on Milwaukee Avenue into a glassy 2.55-acre shopping center. As Curbed reported, Cushman & Wakefield have previously listed the property on their website, but now developers Terraco are apparently eyeing the 130,680-square-foot space, formerly home to a year-round flea market and two small surface parking lots. The new development is dubbed "Logan's Crossing," according to Curbed, and documents from Terraco and Sierra U.S. Commercial Real Estate advertise it as being "In Chicago's Hottest Neighborhood." That boast is no surprise to those who have followed the accelerating pace of new developments in the neighborhood lately. But some neighbors are wary of that trend. We reported in the August issue of AN’s Midwest Edition that plans for an urban orchard and new public plaza are moving forward after years of delays. Other developments include new condos that are under construction a few blocks south, and plans to revamp the park around the Illinois Centennial Monument—the neighborhood’s focal point, which links Logan and Kedzie Boulevards. Two projects under the city’s new transit-oriented development ordinance (also covered in our August issue) are meeting resistance from some neighborhood residents, who argue the new towers are out of scale with two- and three-story buildings nearby. Those projects include a nascent proposal for an empty lot near the California Blue Line stop from the team that built 1611 W. Division—a low-parking apartment tower in West Town designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects—and a Brininstool+Lynch project just north of the vacant Congress Theater. Both projects are several stories above the current neighborhood scale, but supporters have argued increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic along Milwaukee Avenue merit upzoning. Neighbors are not just concerned about height issues, however. Though still predominantly Latino, the area’s white population has grown in recent years, enflaming tensions over gentrification and soaring rents that are familiar to residents of neighboring Wicker Park and Humboldt Park. Anxieties about the neighborhood's quickly changing character came to a head over the Milshire Hotel, a local SRO residence that was facing closure earlier this year. A city-wide moratorium on shutting down or demolishing SROs saved the building, some of whose residents may have gone homeless if it had been suddenly shuttered.