The historic Ridge Avenue fire station in Edgewater will be redeveloped as a center for film and media arts, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today.
The City-owned building at 5714 N. Ridge Ave. will be purchased and redeveloped by the non-profit Chicago Filmmakers media arts organization, which the Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) selected in response to a request for proposals (RFP) issued earlier this year.
"Chicago Filmmakers has committed to retaining the building's historic character while providing an exciting artistic use that will be open to children and adults for many years to come," Mayor Emanuel said. "This facility will have a strong economic impact on the Edgewater community and is an appealing project for the neighborhood."
The RFP sought a commercial or not-for-profit development focusing on arts, recreation, or culinary activities that are open to the public. Four other responses included proposals to convert the two-story structure into an arts complex, a photography studio, a home, and a wellness center. Chicago Filmmakers was selected by a HED selection committee in coordination with Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).
Currently based in the Andersonvile neighborhood, Chicago Filmmakers is a 37-year-old media arts group that fosters the creation, appreciation, and understanding of film and video for artistic and personal expression, as well as social and community impact. It plans to transform the interior of the building into dedicated areas for film screening, production, equipment rental, office, and classroom space. The $647,000 project includes $36,000 for building acquisition costs.
"This historic Firehouse on Ridge Avenue is a special building in our community," Ald. Osterman said. "The Filmmakers' plan is to create a cultural hub for Edgewater which will, in addition to their film screenings, provide increased capacity for classes, youth summer camps, and film festivals. It will contribute to and enhance Edgewater's exciting arts community."
The two-story, 84-year-old building was home to Chicago Fire Department Engine Co. #59 until 2008, when a larger station opened nearby. Trimmed in terra cotta and ornamented with Classical-style details, the 5,900-square-foot building was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2003.
A redevelopment agreement to sell the building to Chicago Filmmakers could be introduced to City Council for approval in early 2014.
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