Let’s put the Logan Square “el” station “plaza” out of its misery

July 21, 2011

Concrete “Plaza” at the Logan Square “el” Station

This has long been a sorry excuse for a “plaza,” and the Google Street View above does a fair job of capturing its desolate landscape. It’s unattractive dead space that further deadens the area around it, particularly on its prominent Milwaukee Avenue side.   As alluded to in one of the comments on Pedestrians have been left out of the multi-modal Logan Square transportation hub, revamping the plaza area will assist with bringing pedestrians to a more prominent and rightful place at this transportation hub. Read the rest of this entry »

Do… or write not

September 8, 2008

Just a short post to let readers know that I am still here. I have to remind myself now and then of why I started this blog. One of the purposes is to write about connecting people with place — Milwaukee Avenue in this case — and to address the question of how to bring people to Milwaukee Avenue when the stores may not be enticing them. That’s what I’ve been doing, rather than writing.

Chicago Artists Month

The City of Chicago has deemed the month of October Chicago Artists Month. To be timely and take advantage of this city-wide focus, I am working to get Milwaukee Avenue merchants and property owners to agree to display art by local artists (and by artists whose subject matter is Logan Square) in their storefront windows for a couple of weeks in October.

I could use the help of readers in a couple of ways. First, if you know of Logan Square artists (whose work is primarily two-dimensional), please bring our attention to them here, and, if you know, let us know how to reach them via a website or gallery. (If you only have personal contact information, please direct them to this site and ask them to 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 »

Impact of da Tour de Fat

July 19, 2008

What Tour de Fat — and events like it — mean for businesses

Four weeks ago, the traveling cycling spectacle known as the Tour de Fat made its Chicago debut, and it was a big fat blast! Mais bien sûr! (“But of course!” with a big fat French Belgian accent.) I wrote about it in anticipation of its coming to the neighborhood in Scene in Logan Square: Tour de Fat, and here, in hindsight, I can comment on its impact on the neighborhood.

The Tour de Fat, because it is more mobile than other events, is a rare happening that can throw a wide net and have a wide impact on the neighborhood. The day began with a bike ride through the neighborhood (see map below), including the primary commercial Read the rest of this entry »

Mining the library for gold

June 16, 2008


Not the triangulation of mathematics, nor of politics, nor even of marketing; I’m speaking of the triangulation of uses that generate, cross-pollinate, and multiply activity in an area.

I always thought the best location for the Logan Square Library, which was once tucked away in a residential area, would be on Milwaukee Avenue in the midst of commercial activity and “el”/subway stations. Unfortunately, the powers that be decided on a different location, in the middle of the block on a four-lane street. Fullerton Avenue is also a commercial street, but the library is located next to some residential two-flats (another two-flat was even demolished for the library’s construction). The four lanes of traffic make it unlikely that library patrons will brave car traffic to cross the street for shopping, and, while within walking distance and midway between two “el” stations, the library is not visible from either station. Read the rest of this entry »

Think like a shopping mall

June 6, 2008

Milwaukee Avenue vs. shopping mall: compare and contrast

Previously, in When does a window become a wall?, I said that Milwaukee Avenue businesses could benefit from thinking like a shopping mall. Thinking of a retail area as a shopping mall is another “Duh!” revelation courtesy of an ICSC roundtable, though the idea is perhaps first attributable to developer James Rouse.

Since the concept as we know it was introduced some 50 years ago, the shopping center has been well-studied and well-crafted as a business. Shopping center managers pay attention to management and maintenance, tenant mix and location, storefront design and display, promotion, mall ambiance and customer relationships. With a shopping mall under single ownership, these are all things under their control.

But Milwaukee Avenue north of Logan Square proper is a mix of buildings owned by various property owners Read the rest of this entry »