Thursday, March 10, 2011

Like A Phoenix From The Flames

Back in the summer of 2008, there was a fire on Argyle Street.  Four of the six storefronts in a single building were gutted.

Then they were boarded up.  For more than a year.  Residents despaired of the blight and wondered how long it would stay like that.

The city brought the owners to demolition court, and rehab of the charred shell began in January 2010.
Now a neat new row of storefronts exists where the gutted storefronts were for so long. There are still dumpsters and caution tape in front, so they're not turnkey ready, but they look nearly done and quite smart!

It's so good to see something besides plywood and posters on the site.  We hope the new building attracts new tenants to Argyle's business district.


  1. This is blog misleading. The rebuilding has nothing to do with the city bringing the owner to demolition court. The hold up with rebuilding had to do with insurance claims.

  2. Anyways....
    I think that the fire was good because it forced the owner to fix it up. Argyle is looking better of late. Its like how Morse was 10 years ago in some ways, Argyle has a bright future as a cool commercial strip by the lake, just like Bryn Mawr is shaping up to be and Morse and how Howard will be.

    I see that the Tank Noodle restaurant is open again, I think that there was some health code stuff or fixing they had to do in general.

  3. As I know a couple of the owners of this building, I can say that the city had nothing to do with the decision to rebuild; it was just that the owners were disputing exactly HOW to rebuild.

    One wanted a total demolition with a new 2-story building, while another wanted the place rebuilt as it was, which is a one-story with the same store fronts.

    The fire was an accident and a business disaster for the restaurant, a great Vietnamese restaurant which had just completely renovated its place before the fire happened. The fire was caused by a gasoline-powered generator that the restaurant owner was using to keep his meat cooler running during the storm-induced power outage in 2008. So this fire was not really a good thing at all, but was a DISASTER for the businesses involved, even if the neighbors got a vastly better looking building as a result. Devastating fires are not good for the businesses whose losses of revenues and property are almost never totally covered by their insurance.

  4. By the way, Argyle has not been ANYTHING like Morse for a long time. While Morse had nothing but "ghetto" type businesses until quite recently, Argyle Street has for over a decade hummed with commercial activity and healthy Asian businesses, which generate huge revenues. True, they could pay more attention to their appearance and I'll be the first to agree that Argyle needs a facelift.

    Argyle has been, for the past 15 years, a major center for the north town Asian community and is one of the biggest sales tax sources in the city. None of the businesses on Argyle resemble the businesses on Morse, with a couple of small exceptions, such as the greasy spoons at the el station and the hamburger joint close to Sheridan Road. They may be run down in appearance, but they sell decent products to decent people.

    I speak as one who knows many of the Asian-run businesses on this stretch and the people who own and operate them. The street has always had a large number of great little restaurants and merchandisers, including a great Asian grocery store.

    Give credit to the Asian community for rescuing Argyle Street and helping to make Uptown a community that people are interested in living and investing in. 20 years ago, this street and the area in general were extremely blighted and looked totally hopeless.

  5. Geez. Everyone's acting like there's an all-out attack on the owners.

    How about, this is a POSITIVE post? Blight in the form of a charred building shell has been eliminated. Argyle has lovely new storefronts. No one's being slammed. The only "bad guy" is the fire.

    This is what someone in the courtroom had to say in January 2010: "The building at 1104 W. Argyle was brought into demolition court by the City on an emergency basis. When the owners produced evidence that they were serious about fixing the building, the Judge allowed them time to fully rehab it. They are back up in court on March 2 to monitor their progress. So far, I have no info about what is going into the storefronts. If I find something out, I will let you know."

  6. I dont mind being slammed myself. Making false observations is how I become better informed....

    Thanks for the info North Coast.
    I think however the landlords of Argyle could be better at call 911 for loitering and 311 on graffiti. It is a cool area, some of it quite run down, but that has been changing which is good.