For Art’s Sake

New South Side project hopes to lure artists with price breaks.

The developer Andy Schcolnik, who restored the vintage Grand Ballroom (at 6351 South Cottage Grove Avenue) and is putting up four eight-flat apartment buildings nearby, has another Woodlawn project. A dedicated preservationist, Schcolnik has bought the dere­lict five-story structure at 6315 South Cottage Grove from the City of Chicago for $1. Dating to 1919, when it was the Strand Hotel, the brick building, once renovated, will provide 36 homes (and workspace) for artists—presuming everything goes as planned.

Woodlawn

 Each unit:
$208,888

At presstime, Schcolnik had commitments from eight artists; he needs to lock in seven more before he can nail down financing. “I feel lucky to have eight reservations with the market in the state it’s in,” Schcolnik says. His goal is to have the building completely renovated by fall 2009.

At present, the building is boarded up and filled with debris—though a flashlight tour revealed a dramatic marble staircase, ritzy plaster pilasters and capitals, skylights, and beautiful tiled floors. Each of the 36 units has a list price of $208,888, but, depending on a buyer’s income, the city will contribute as much as $53,888 toward each purchase. “Thirty-six artists would do a lot for this neighborhood,” Schcolnik says.

 

Photograph: Dennis Rodkin

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