Bush Temple of Music Celebrates Project Completion

A celebration to recognize the completion of the restoration of the Bush Temple of Music was held on November 9, 2017. The six-story Chicago Landmark is located on Chicago Avenue at Clark Street. Designed by architect J.E.O. Pridmore and constructed in 1901, the building is a rare largescale example of French Renaissance Revival style architecture in Chicago.

Bush & Gerts Piano Company was one of Chicago’s leading piano manufacturers when they built the Bush Temple of Music as their headquarters. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chicago was the center of musical instrument manufacturing and sheet music publishing, with many musical manufacturers clustered on “Music Row” along South Wabash Avenue in proximity to the Auditorium Building, extending approximately from Jackson to Congress.

Redeveloped by Cedar Street Companies with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA), the adaptive reuse transformed the building into an apartment building comprised of 101 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Approximately 8,500 square foot ground floor space will remain retail and it has been reported that Heritage Bicycles will open a combination café and bike shop.

“Exterior scope of work included new storefronts with trim to match the original historic iron details. Masonry work included repairs to the glazed brick, replacement of missing terra cotta units, and repair/reconstruction of missing terra cotta pilasters. The iconic but deteriorated roof was replaced and missing decorative features at the roofline were reinstalled. Interior work included restoring significant details such as skylights, original marble wainscoting, terrazzo flooring, and original single-panel doors with fritted glass.” (Chicago DPD)

Both the Adopt-a-Landmark incentive and the 20% Federal Historic Tax Credit were used as part of the financing of the development. The Bush Temple of Music was designated a Chicago landmark on June 27, 2001 which protected the building until it could be renovated some 15 years later.

On October 24, 2017, adaptive reuse of the Bush Temple of Music was honored by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks as an outstanding example of historic adaptive reuse with the annual Preservation Excellence Awards.

Preservation Chicago applauds the efforts of Cedar Street Companies and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) for stepping forward to “breath life” back into one of Chicago’s great architectural buildings.

Additional Reading
Bush Temple of Music, 800 N. Clark St.

A Last Look Inside the Historic Bush Temple of Music Before Its Big Makeover, AJ LaTrace, Curbed Chicago, 4/30/15 (with wonderful collection of pre-construction interior photos)

Landmarks Commission honors Chicago’s best preservation projects for 2017, Chicago DPD News Release, Oct 24, 2017


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