Now open: Hairpin Lofts & Logan Square Arts Center

July 28, 2011

Hairpin Lofts & Logan Square Arts Center
on Milwaukee Ave.

It’s been over 20 years since the public has stepped foot above the first floor of the Hairpin Lofts and Logan Square Arts Center (photo left, “before”) — until today!

The reconfigured and newly renovated and restored building at the northwest corner of Diversey and Milwaukee Avenues (photo above, “after”) is certified for occupancy and open for business.

You can read a bit more about the building’s journey at History of the Morris B. Sachs building (Part I) and (Part II), Celebrating Hairpin Lofts! and Desirable defacement.

On the top four floors of the building, tenants will now reside in new apartments (photo left) where office workers once toiled.  And enjoy a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood (photo below left looks north up Kimball Avenue).

On the second floor of the building will be the Logan Square Arts Center, a performance and multi-use space managed by the Logan Square Chamber of Arts.

You can dive right in and see for yourself the new Logan Square Arts Center during the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival this weekend (see below).

Scene in Logan Square:

Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival takes place this weekend, July 29-31, from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Friday, noon to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on Milwaukee Avenue between Rockwell and Wolfram Streets.

You might start off your festival experience with the 50 & Fabulous performance at the Logan Square Arts Center Friday night at 8:00 p.m.  You could take some time on Saturday to channel your own artistic side starting at 2:30 p.m. with the All Ages Make & Take Art Workshops, fuel your artsy adventure at neighborhood restaurants or the curated Food and drink at the festival, or test your artistic expression at 7:30 p.m. with Foreign language karaoke.  You may challenge your perspective on Sunday at the Undomesticated gallery, see how the festival has unfolded at the See, Hear, Now gallery, and pick up a souvenir of the festival at the Indoor Art Market.  There’s much more to see and do.  Map your own route or let the art unfold in your own exploration.

Desirable defacement

September 15, 2010

Hairpin Lofts and Logan Square Arts Center
Façade Work on Milwaukee Ave.

This is the kind of literal defacement I like to see.

This defacement indicates progress on the Hairpin Lofts and Logan Square Arts Center, which is moving along according to plan.

The skin has been removed for various parts cleanings and repairings, leaving this odd face.  Neighborhood resident Adam Natenshon of Brinshore Development humanizes its current state, likening the concrete structure to bones and the clay tiles to muscles held together by mortar tendons (detail photo left).  The scaffolding itself adds a skeletal look.

Read the rest of this entry »

Neighborhood Anchor — BVL Sales & Service

May 3, 2010

This article appeared last month in the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce Lamppost newsletter.  It’s a great fit for this blog; haven’t  you wondered about BVL?  The article is reprinted here with permission from the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce and the author, Mandy Guzman.

Guest post:  Mandy Guzman

Mandy Guzman received her bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and is now furthuring her education at the University of Chicago.  She has been teaching in a variety of capacities for the last nine years in both Spain and the Chicagoland area.  Mandy has been a Logan Square resident for the last two years.  She loves being involved in her community and spends Saturday mornings helping out at Nuestra Señora de las Américas in Logan Square.  If you’d like to contact Mandy, send her an email at brillmandy at hotmail dot-com.  

BVL Sales & Service on Milwaukee Ave.

Nineteen sixty-one was a year of many great events.  John F. Kennedy became president.  Ham the chimp rode a rocket into space.  The Peace Corps was established, West Side Story was released as a film and the future Princess Diana was born. Read the rest of this entry »

Anchor opportunities (Part II)

December 12, 2008

Opportunities in the making: Cheetah Gym

As I wrote previously in One step backwards, two steps forward on Milwaukee Avenue, Cheetah Gym is on again!

Though you can’t see it behind the covered windows, if you walk by the former Grace’s Furniture store building at 2616-2618 N. Milwaukee Avenue you can hear that demolition work has begun toward conversion of the space for a new branch of Chicago-based Cheetah Gym.

Cheetah Gym currently has three Chicago locations: Andersonville, Bucktown (actually in Wicker Park by most definitions), and Edgewater. At 32,000 square feet on six floors (including the basement), Logan Square will be the largest of the gyms.

This promises to bring daily foot traffic to this stretch of Milwaukee Avenue, however I don’t have membership numbers from other locations to quantify it. Hours haven’t yet been set, but likely will be the same as at other locations: Monday – Thursday from 5:00 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Read the rest of this entry »

One step backwards, two steps forward on Milwaukee Avenue

November 7, 2008

2620-food4less-vacant-11-6-08-003Store closing

Last weekend, Food for Less closed its doors. It was a short-lived venture, and there have been probably three other similar dollar stores in the same space in recent years.

To my dismay, the building owners have reinstalled the window grates, once again creating a perception that Milwaukee Avenue is unsafe (see Spring cleaning).

The new “for rent” signs have an Indiana telephone number. I find this interesting because over and over again when I have talked with the business and property owners on Milwaukee Avenue, those that do not live in the neighborhood were surprised that I do live in the neighborhood. They have a perception of the area as not being safe. I’ll grant you that we still have more than our fair share of crime. With Milwaukee Avenue, though, it seems to me a chicken or the egg situation. What comes first: a change in perception or reality? Read the rest of this entry »

Anchor opportunities (Part I)

August 14, 2008

Not without a mooring

The promise of Cheetah Gym has been broken, and [Update: Cheetah Gym is on again! (See One step backwards, two steps forward on Milwaukee Avenue.)] Milwaukee Avenue is drifting (see Without an
anchor), but this stretch of Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square is not without a mooring to make fast an anchor.

The former Grace’s Furniture store at the south end of this stretch is back on the market (rental, at least) (photo, right).

And on the north end of the stretch, the group of buildings on the west side of Milwaukee Avenue that are part of the Chicago Milwaukee-Diversey- Kimball Landmark District, all have vacancies above the first floor (and some on the first floor as well). Read the rest of this entry »

Without an anchor

August 12, 2008

In Milwaukee Avenue’s ebbing tide

What Milwaukee Avenue needs is to weigh anchor, to bring on board an anchor in order to set sail away from its current listing, from its listlessness, from its current downward — or at best stagnant — trend.

Special events, like this past weekend’s Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival and simultaneous sidewalk sale (photos left) can make the neighborhood a destination for a day. That in turn can serve as an introduction to the neighborhood and what it has to offer. A fixed anchor, though, can clear the way for a new direction for Milwaukee Avenue, a rising tide to lift all boats. Read the rest of this entry »