Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood has long been dubbed, fairly or not, the new Wicker Park or Bucktown, after its truly gentrified neighbors down the Milwaukee Avenue corridor. The north end of Logan Square’s commercial and retail corridor, however, has long been blighted by the vacant (with the exception of a Payless Shoe store) Morris B. Sachs flatiron building, anchoring one of Chicago’s iconic six-corners intersections at Milwaukee and Kimball Avenue.
Any debate regarding the most appropriate use of the Sach’s building may be put to rest. The city’s Community Development Commission has approved Brinshore Development’s proposal to redevelop the space into the Hairpin Lofts and Logan Square Community Arts Center.
The planned redevelopment, partially financed by Tax Increment Financing dollars, will consist of 28 new residential loft units, 25 of which will be affordable to households earning 30 to 60 percent of the area median income. Earlier proposals called for twice the number of affordable units. The winning proposal opts for fewer apartments and greater community space, in what the developer hopes will become a more vibrant and dynamic streetscape, accessible day and night.
Adam Natenshon, vice president at Brinshore, sees the Arts Center as a multipurpose venue. "It will provide a flexible art space for the community that may serve moms and kids, seniors, yoga classes during the day and serve as a venue for music, dance, theater or spoken word at night," he said.
Brinshore chose Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, who according to Natenshon are well-versed in historical preservation, having worked on the restoration of other flatiron buildings. The second floor will be home to the 7,000 square foot Arts Center and outdoor patio deck, with the apartments on the upper floors. The ground floor will be devoted to four market rate retail spaces.
The development should significantly improve the corridor, as commercial and retail activity is currently weighted to the more vibrant southern end, near the main entrance to the CTA’s Logan Square subway station. Situated prominently at the center of the north end of the neighborhood, accessible by several major bus routes and two subway stations, Brinshore believes Hairpin Lofts and the Arts Center will help activate the neighborhood while adding to the area’s affordable housing stock.