Building Blocks is the owner/developer/general contractor of the historic Amber Building in the East Village neighborhood of Chicago. Building Blocks is a 28 year old Chicago construction company focused on the restoration of historic facades. This work includes architectural terra cotta, ornamental cast iron and custom windows. The project will be a showcase of our work as we restore the grandeur of the white terra cotta facade, cast iron storefront and monumental sized wood windows.
The building was built in 1926 for the Amber Furniture Company, which owned 6 stores around the Chicagoland area. The building was designed by Rissman & Hirshfield, a highly respected architectural firm whose work also included hotels such as Knickerbocker Hotel, and Cedar Hotel, as well as large scale lakefront apartment buildings such as 2440 N. Lakeview and 3520 N. Lake Shore Drive.
According to tax records it appears that the Amber Furniture was closed in the early sixties. The building then became a mexican restaurant and most recently Viva Plaza, which the marquee still shows. Although for the past ten or more years the building has sat vacant.
Building Blocks purchased the building in May of 2012. Upon closing we began the construction financing and design process. Our design team consist of Rob Derose (architect) of Build Wisely Architects, Tim Thompson (structural engineer) of Construction Resources, and Sachin Anand (MEP engineer) of dbHMS. Financing is being provided by American Chartered Bank.
The 2nd and 3rd floor will be redeveloped as commercial office space and will be marketed to the architectural, engineering and construction industries. The first floor will be a retail space ideally suited for a restaurant operator. Please see the design page for more details about the redevelopment plan.