WIN: The Fields Studios Received $10M in City and State Grants

A rendering of the The Fields Studios’ north campus entrance. Photo credit: Knickpoint Ventures

“A sprawling film production studio set to open on the Logan Square-Avondale border has secured a $10 million in governmental grants as it aims to increase industry opportunities in the Midwest.

“The Fields Studios is a $250 million project that will bring nine sound stages, creative and production offices and more retail to the 21-acre Fields campus at Diversey Avenue and Pulaski Road.

“A $5 million grant from the city’s Community Development Grant program will help complete the interior buildout of the studio’s production support space, city officials said in a press release.

“The Fields is one of more than 30 businesses that received city grants last month to revitalize neighborhood retail corridors, Mayor Brandon Johnson said.

“Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also awarded the studio $5 million to help diversify the film industry, state officials announced in a press release.

“New York-based developer Knickpoint Ventures bought the site at 4000 W. Diversey Ave. in 2018 and secured City Council approval in 2021.

“Shawn Papazian, a partner with Knickpoint Ventures, said the grant will help the company expand its film programs, work with nonprofits to hire locally and create ancillary spaces at The Fields for independent businesses and mom-and-pop entrepreneurs.

“‘It will help the business further develop and hit other ecosystems that fit the film production world” as well as “entrench ourselves in the community,’ Papazian said. (Parrella-Aureli, Block Club Chicago, 3/6/24)

“The Marshall Field’s Warehouse is located at Diversey Avenue and Pulaski Road on 22 acres. The 1.5 million square foot complex includes six concrete and red brick buildings. Adaptively reused in 2018, it was renamed The Fields.

“It’s a gorgeous building with 24-inch-round columns and 14- to 17-foot ceiling heights. We’re going to save as many of the original elements as we can. The building reeks of character.” said John McLinden, Hubbard Street’s Group founder and managing partner.” (Ori, Chicago Tribune, 1/12/18)

The building was originally built for the Olson Rug Company in 1928, This is also the historic site of the much beloved and missed Olson Rug Park and Waterfall built in 1935. This park featured an elaborate illuminated rock garden and 35-foot waterfall, which made it a popular Chicago attraction.

The waterfall and park were dismantled in 1970 after the site was sold to Marshall Fields in 1965. It was used by Marshall Field and later Macy’s until 2008. After a period of vacancy, it was sold for redevelopment in 2014.

During the period of vacancy, Preservation Chicago was actively working towards a preservation sensitive outcome. We had numerous meetings with former 31st Ward Alderman Ray Suarez when Macy’s announced they were closing the facility to encourage possible Chicago Landmark Designation and to consider an adaptive reuse of the site for residential and affordable housing within these immense fireproof buildings.

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

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