Monday, September 2, 2013

The Beautiful Building At Broadway & Racine

Photo copyrighted by and used courtesy of Designslinger
Designslinger, the photo/architecture/history blog, takes a look at the first Sheridan Trust & Savings building, better known by most Uptowners as "the old Goldblatts" or the "the Borders Building."  It was built 99 years ago to house a bank, with a projected lifespan of 25 years!

In the article, we trace its path from 1914 bank building to Loren Miller department store to Goldblatts to empty and decrepit in 1998.  After its restoration and rehab in 2003, it became home to Borders, until the chain went belly-up and vacated all its brick-and-mortar stores.  Now it sits empty again, waiting for its next act.

What's next for the building?  We have some clues (more about that later).  In the meantime, you can see the always gorgeous photos of the building and read about its history at Designslinger's website.


  1. This is another lovely neighborhood building of the type that makes old neighborhoods worth rehabilitating and caring about. Chicago's wealth of beautiful commercial and apartment buildings that are not necessarily "great" or "landmark" architecture is one of the reasons I live in this city.

    But, face it, we are not going to get another large, high-quality retailer to fill this space. Retail is going through a major consolidation that will continue for another decade, until we are back at the 4sq ft of retail space for every consumer that we had circa 1965, a time I remember as having plenty of shopping venues. Thanks to the credit binge of the last 30 years and the excess that resulted, we had 38 sq ft of retail space per consumer in the U.S. as of year 2K. That is absurd and it's ending now. So, forget about attracting another chain outlet here. In any case, people tire of conventional, predictable chain retail. Why bother with places that have offerings substantially similar to every other store of the same type and that you can find on-line at a better price.

    The best solution would be to turn part of this place into living space I would love to see the 2nd floor of this beautiful building divided up into really beautiful, glossy lofts. Some privileged person, who unfortunately will not be me, could have an incredible multi-level condo with a 2-story Palladian window on the corner of the building.

    The street level space should be divided into smaller retail spaces of 2000 sq ft, that could be supported by individually owned businesses. With any luck, these spaces will be reasonably-priced enough to be plausible for the type of businesses that populate neighborhoods like Andersonville and Lincoln Square. Maybe they should be more like 1000 sq ft.

  2. This space is gorgeous and has a location with some serious potential. It's been sad to see it sit empty, but from the El you can't but stare and think about what could go in such a big space. A mixed unit conversion would make a lot of sense, but I'd love to see something bigger like an upmarket Walgreens go in there.

  3. I walk by this building frequently on my way to waste some rival bangers on Wilson or pickup some McDonalds. Sometimes I do both and hit one of the Starbucks for some caffeine.

    I'm happy to report that yesterday I noticed the ground and second levels of the vacant space had been covered in ads for Lexus automobiles..........from the inside. I know it was a WTF moment for me too.

    What does that tell us boys and girls?

    Hell if I know. I find it hard to believe an auto dealership is going in, but perhaps a mini auto showroom? Is there such a thing?

    I thought that when they were planning to build a new library behind the car wash on Broadway they should have considered using this location and then used the current library site for a new market rate housing building.

    Or maybe Lexus just paid the owners some money to cover the windows in ads.

    I just don't know.

    In any case the lack of parking for the new IrishPirate Goldblatt's/Borders/ Library could be solved by closing off part of Racine there and turning it into a lot for the new IP Scientology Reading Room. Unless a mini Lexus dealer is in the offing.