Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chicago Filmmakers may have a new home in an old firehouse

Posted By on 12.17.13 at 04:15 PM

48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman requested proposals in May for the redevelopment of the Ridge Firehouse
  • 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman requested proposals in May for the redevelopment of the Ridge Firehouse.
It looks like Christmas has come early for the city's film exhibitors. First it comes to light that the Patio Theater will not have to close its doors (sorry, again, for failing to get the facts straight yesterday). Now the folks at Chicago Filmmakers have announced that they've been chosen by the city's Department of Housing and Economic Development to redevelop and occupy a vacant firehouse in Edgewater, at 5720 North Ridge Avenue. According to a press release from the organization, the decision is expected to go before City Council in the spring for final approval.

The press release continues:

Chicago Filmmakers submitted a proposal to purchase the firehouse for $36,000 and to commit over $600,000 towards the renovation of the space. The renovation is expected to take eight to 12 months after acquisition of the building. The 5,892 square foot building, constructed in 1928 and designed by architect Argyle E. Robinson, was designated as a Chicago Landmark in 2003.

Brenda Webb, executive director for Chicago Filmmakers, notes that moving to the firehouse (which is larger than the space the organization currently occupies at 5243 North Clark Street) would allow the 40-year-old institution to "expand our programming and deepen our roots in the Edgewater community, where we have been located for over 17 years."

The city issued a request this past May that the old firehouse be reused as "a commercial and/or not-for-profit development focusing on arts, re-creation, or culinary activities that are open to the public." Looking at the building, you can understand why—the ornate design practically invites creative thought.

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