WIN: Restoration of 1954 W. North Avenue Includes the Reconstruction of the Corner Turret Lost in the 1960s

Rendering of 1958 W North Avenue following historic restoration. Rendering credit: Hirsch MPG

“Construction continues on the mixed-use development at 1954-1956 W North Avenue in the heart of Wicker Park. Located at the heart of the neighborhood on the six-corner intersection with N Damen Avenue, the historical preservation and redevelopment will revitalize the corner structure which has sat vacant for many years now. The team at Ernst Development is working with local architecture firm Hirsch MPG on its design, which aims to bring back some of the building’s original details after buying it in 2021.

“Dating back to around the 1870’s, the two-structures were built to serve the quickly growing neighborhood, though they looked much different than they do today. After many of its neighboring pieces were demolished, the two had their decorative cornices, mansard roofs, and corner turret removed in the 1960’s as the area continued to change. Most recently they held Wicker Park Tavern and Cafe Absinthe but have sat vacant since 2017 when a Capital One cafe that never materialized was announced.

“Now construction is in full swing combining the two into nine-residential units with over 5,000 square-feet of commercial space at the base. While the unit mix isn’t known, the work will also include a new elevator, stairs, roof deck, and rebuilding missing floors that were demolished over the years. Perhaps the most exciting piece of the project is the reconstruction of the corner turret and cleaning up the existing cornices, unfortunately due to the recent cell towers on the roof the missing final floor with ornate dormers cannot be rebuilt.” (Achong, Chicago YIMBY, 5/5/23)


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