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FitzGerald Associates Architects Completes $4.5M Renovation of Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago

CHICAGO — FitzGerald Associates Architects has completed the renovation of the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago. The former 26,000-square-foot bank, located in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, has been converted into an arts and cultural center. FitzGerald served as the primary architect for the restoration and oversaw the $4.5 million project. The bank was originally built in 1923 and was designed by Williams Gibbons Uffendell. The bank stood vacant for more than 20 years before community artist Theaster Gates acquired it in 2012. Gates purchased the three-story building from the City of Chicago for $1.

The renovated facility will serve as an exhibition venue and platform for art installations. FitzGerald directed the full interior and exterior repair and restoration of the bank building. Exterior repairs included limited replacement of the building’s terra cotta façade, replacement of the windows in compliance with historic guidelines and restoration of the original cast iron entrance. Interior restoration included retention of the coffered plaster ceiling in the original banking hall, ornamental plaster detailing throughout the first floor and terrazzo flooring. The bank vault in the basement will be left in the condition it was found in order to demonstrate the scope of restoration.

Efforts are underway to place the building on the National Register of Historic Places. The building will showcase more than 60,000 glass lantern slides from collections belonging to the University of Chicago and Art Institute of Chicago. Archival collections of John H. Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines, will also be on display at the building.

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