Monday, November 8, 2010

Facelift for East Park Towers, Funeral for Tobacco for Less

posted by chicago pop

New/Original Facade of East Park Towers

It's hard to find a picture on the web of what the facade of East Park Towers used to look like. That's probably because it was absolutely hideous, and anyone with an interest in photographing the building did well to elevate the picture frame above street level to focus instead on the handsome upper stories overlooking Harold Washington Park. But you probably remember: a blank concrete wall, textured with pebbles, a bad 70's fad, sort of like the aluminum sheeting that was once draped over the Palmer House and other old downtown buildings to make them look "modern."

Old Facade of East Park Towers, Courtesy of HPP reader
and Talented Photographer Eric Allix Rogers

Well, it's gone. And thank you to MAC for restoring East Park Towers' handsome and understated neo-classical foyer. This makes up for being next to Hyde Park-Kenwood's third spookiest building.


Elsewhere in the neighborhood: what will become of this little basement space? We've seen a boutique bike shop, a tobacco store, and then a mini-mart come through this location in a brief three year period. For a variety of reasons, none of them has worked out. This corner deserves something special. It would be great if the landlord agreed.


Eric Allix Rogers said...

Wow, what an amazing difference that makes! Here are a couple of old photos:

Richard Gill said...

Although the date on the "Minimart" photo says January 1, 2010, I snapped it on November 8, 2010. I must make a note to reset that thing.

Stranger than strange is that the "MINIMART" sign is brand new, having been put in place around the end of October, just a few days before the tobacco store was shuttered and totally emptied out.

In addition to the bike shop and tobacco store, that space was occupied by a shoe repair shop, and a bizarre upscale shoe store that as far as I could tell, never had any customers in it.

chicago pop said...

Thanks for the link, E.A.R. Let me know if it's not ok to use your pic of the old entrance to the East Park Building.

Yael said...

I know the owner of that third-spookiest building. He planned to rehab it and the funding fell victim to the recession.

ladyjanewriter said...

The construction at EPT is a complete trainwreck. You need to interview Stephanie Witcher about it. She can give you the whole scoop. If you want her e-mail address to contact her, let me know.

Becca said...

I live next to the former home of Tobacco For Less, and as far as I could tell the "Minimart" was exactly the same folks with a new sign.

What's got me all excited is the Groove Store in the same building just 'round the corner. It's apparently the Chicago branch of a record store in Paris (the sign is even the same!)

I have a hard time imagining why they chose to open a Hyde Park branch, especially on that corner (the cute French guy who's been in it the couple times I've stopped by wasn't very forthcoming about anything, though he's very nice), but I kind of hope they make it.