Friday, May 9, 2008

Save This Building

This is an exceptionally pretty 1920s-vintage courtyard located at 1422-32 W. Farwell Ave in Rogers Park. It is managed by the notorious Bil Mar management company, but until a couple of years ago, was reasonably well-maintained, and inhabited by nice people.


WCM Farwell Apt. LLC

1422-1432 W Farwell Chicago, IL 60626
Address PIN Structure ID
1422-1432 W FARWELL PIN: 11-32-116-015 01132116015000

Now, the place is looking less well, and seems to be harboring undesirable people and activities. I am getting informal reports of drug dealing in and around the building, and see a lot of unsavory-looking young men milling about the property. The maintenance has also slipped, as evidenced by extremely dry-rotted windows.

This is one of Rogers Park's huge supply of really beautiful courtyard buildings. Notice the exceptional terracotta ornamentation and tile roof. The floorplans of the apartments are standard for the era in which the building went up, with spacious, well-proportioned rooms, high ceilings, large windows, and beautiful millwork. Buildings like this are irreplaceable, and when they are deteriorated enough to need a complete gut, their beauty is completely lost when some greed-monger developer guts the place, re-arranges the original floorplan, and makes the place look like a cheap "villa" townhouse in Antioch.

Here's hoping that the ownership of this fine building decides to unload the place and free itself of the burden of properly screening tenants and maintaining the property decently, either by doing a "soft" conversion to condos (a conversion with no rehab) or co-op, or by selling to a more caring and responsible owner who operates on longer time horizons and is committed to the area.

However, there are so many government-sponsored inducements to greed and mismanagement, such as the poorly-run Section 8 voucher program in combination with minimal HUD and City of Chicago oversight of landlords who benefit from this and other socialized housing programs, that, at this time, there exist more incentives to exploit the property to the maximum advantage while giving nothing back to it, until the property is so trashed that a gut rehab and conversion (with government-guaranteed loans, of course) are the only ways to salvage it.


Fargo said...

I really hope this one goes to a better owner before it's too late. We'll never get quality apartment construction like these old beauties again.

The North Coast said...

Yes, we're trashing irreplaceable buildings and then trying to replace them by throwing up "neo-traditional"' crap designed by people who were trained to despise traditional architecture.

We're destroying stuff everyone loves, that even the "modernists" secretly love, and replacing it with garbage everyone hates though they pretend to love it.

Think of Mies Van Der Rohe... what a joke it was on him and everything he stood for that he finished out his life not in one of his glass buildings, but in a 1910 vintage midrise on Pearson complete with all the vintage details he affected to despise. Even HE couldn't stand living in those sterile boxes.