May 4, 2009

The Broadmoor - 2009

After the April 24 community walk on Jarvis, we stopped to read the sign on the entrance door. The guard at the desk invited us in and gave us a mini tour. The transformation is outstanding and impressive. The color scheme, lighting and urns create a very welcoming lobby. The elevators received a much needed facelift with matching peach paint, new tiled floors and lighting.


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“Built in 1922-23 by developers Louis Rubin and Abraham Marks, this six-story building was one of the most luxurious buildings of its day. It had 90 apartments and 7 stores, which were accessible from the lobby and the street. The outside is clad with terra cotta. From 1924 to 1927, WBBM radio station (various explanations are given for the call letters, including “We Broadcast from the BroadMoor” or “We Broadcast Broadmoor Music”) broadcast live big band programs from its ballroom and such popular shows as Amos and Andy. The ballroom featured an elegant restaurant and a dancing area. The lobby floor was laid with terrazzo tiles. A 1982 Chicago Tribune article is quoted as saying “The Broadmoor’s charm kept her 90 apartments occupied most of the time, and on Saturday nights, women in silks and furs and men in top hats and tails flocked to her ballroom to dance.”

The Sopcic family acquired the building in October 2007 and recently completed the renovation of the interior, including the lobby and other common areas and the rental units. An important part of these renovations was the replacement of the old steam boiler by a new highly energy-efficient heating system that can also be used to provide air conditioning to the individual units. The developer also installed energy-efficient units and doors, an energy-efficient roof and new water pipes and electrical wiring.” From the tour book.

Yesterdays tour included a visit to a 6th floor apartment that is nearing completion in this huge rehabbing project. It had a great view to the east and south, natural light through the new windows, wood floors, new kitchen cabinetry, and ample closet space for a one bedroom.

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The hallways are no longer the depressing institutional grays I saw on my first visit there years ago. They match the warm colors of the lobby with a darker green for the baseboards and doors.

Compare the new entrance to these old photos from the days when the defunct Chicago Equity Fund nearly destroyed the Broadmoor and a neighborhood.

The Broadmoor Portal - from the Chicago Equity Fund days

This was the emergency door inside the lobby. People would jam the door as shown in the photo so anyone could gain entrance to the building. It was connected to a screeching alarm system that management never heard but the neighborhood sure did.

The Broadmoor Portal - from the Chicago Equity Fund days

Chicago Equity Fund touted this security portal as high tech! It had a palm print matchup for each tenant which didn't always function. Unfortunately, the screaming emergency door next to this contraption allowed anyone on the inside to let the unknowns into the building.

The Broadmoor Portal - from the Chicago Equity Fund days The palm print unsecurity system from Chicago Equity Fund days at Broadmoor

Most of the problem tenants have relocated and the 24-hour security team makes every effort to know the current tenants and monitor the street activity. Lou Sopcic has taken this challenging building and is restoring its dignity. I admit was skeptical when he purchased the building but the transformation is amazing.

Thank you Mr. Sopcic for your determination, hard work, and dedication to this project.


The North Coast said...

What a great apartment-love those full-length French windows. This really is a beautiful old building and I'm grateful to the new ownership for restoring it.

Let's hope it stays this nice and that other beautiful buildings in NOH get the same treatment.

Michael J. Harrington said...

The lobby pics - WOW! I remember the electronic palm ID gizmo at the entrance. What a joke that was.

Well, now the lobby looks all golden and fancy, actually great. Is that great space really as nice as it looks in the photos? If so, let's think about planning a glittering fundraiser/reception there to support some deserving community project.

Toni said...

The new lobby photos were taken 4/24 but I didn't publish them until after the historical tour so people could be surprised.

They're still working and that night there was that fine layer of construction dust - but that goes with rehabbing. There's no way around that reality. Yes, it's an amazing transformation. When I moved here, the CAPS meetings were held in the community room.

It was rather dreary to say the least.