Saturday, October 10, 2009

Empty Midcentury on Broadway

Piser Weinstein Menorah Chapel, 5206 N. Broadway, aka Furth Chapels

Midcentury funeral home

It's not a dazzling building, but its jumble of massing is intriguing. Each function of the building seems to have its own articulation, even its own facade material. And it's hard to fully judge a Modernist building when the windows are boarded over.

The funeral home appears to have operated into 2002, before moving to a new location in Skokie. Since then it's been vacant and boarded up, with a developer planning ot turn the land into new residential development.

Midcentury funeral home

Given its former use, the odds of this little Midcentury piece surviving are pretty slim. As detailed in an article in Chicago Real Estate Daily, the economic slowdown is the only reason the building is still standing.

Broadway at Foster

Doomed along with it is this vacant turn of the century apartment house with retail in the base.

I'm sure the would-be developers imagined a massive apartment/condo blockbuster building, similar to others that have gone up along other sections of Broadway in recent years. But with the scent of the money trail gone cold, couldn't some thought be given to finding a new use for this little slice of 1960s style? Much of the lot is empty land. A small outbuilding is the only structure on the northern half of this large city lot -- plenty of room for new and old to co-exist.


Michael R. Allen said...

If Illinois had a Missouri-style state historic rehab tax credit, the odds of survival for buildings like these would be much greater. In Illinois, the incentive lies with the "higher use" -- more square feet sold and leased at a higher price. The best rehab incentive one can get is the 20% federal credit, which pales in comparison to the supposed profits of a big new condo building.

Anonymous said...

i read somewhere that the older corner building is being rehabbed and turned back into rental apartments with stores below.

David said...

Ha ha! I got a chuckle upon seeing this. My boss designed the addition to Piser (look at the second floor for the brick color change - he warned that it would never match...). It's too bad no one could find a reuse for it - even as something other than a funeral home - though it took forever for something here to 'gel' and it never quite seemed to happen, even with the corner building (which is in some stage of reconstruction internally).

EdgeVille Buzz said...