What has been reported to be the last remaining arcade in Chicago, and one of the last remaining in the nation, is threatened with demolition and replacement with a seven-story building. Located at the corner of Broadway, Devon and Sheridan in Edgewater, the 94-year old Woodruff Arcade has served dozens of small tenants since it was first opened circa 1923.
“In 1922, W.J. Woodruff received a building permit from the city for his arcade, according to the Edgewater Historical Society. Architect Herbert Green designed a handsome but utilitarian red brick building that opens up inside with iron staircases, large interior windows into the internal courtyard, and that big skylight.” (WBEZ, 6/22/17)
The Edgewater Historical Society is leading an effort to Save the Woodruff Arcade with a petition drive focused at convincing 48th Ward Alderman Osterman to oppose the demolition. According to the Society’s webpage, the 48th Ward alderman can save this building if there is sufficient community support.
The arcade currently houses over a dozen small business and offices. All tenants were given notice that they would need to vacate their spaces by December 31, 2017. The former owner operated the arcade for over 30 years, but sold the building to the current ownership Edgemark Commercial Real Estate Services
As reported in DNAinfo, tenant Anvi Parikh, of SRJ Consulting, a financial services firm that leases space in the building was told the building was slated to be razed and rebuilt as a seven-story development.
Like so many historic buildings under threat, the mismatch between the existing historic structure and the much larger building zoning allows for results in an economic incentive to destroy historic resources. As the developer is planning to work within the existing zoning limits, there is no requirement for public meetings or Aldermanic approval.
Preservation Chicago believes that this is an important gateway building to Rogers Park to the north, Edgewater to the south, and the Devon Street commercial corridor to the west. We have outreached to Alderman Osterman to encourage the developer to save the façade and the arcade and to encourage development above or behind these existing features. To date, the only concession from the developer has been the offer of a commemorative plaque.