When I signed the standard real estate contract for the purchase of an decrepit single family house at 5945 N. Magnolia Ave. in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago in January 2015, I would have never guessed that it would have taken 15 months to complete the transaction. But after much effort and the support of the surrounding community, the members of the EPIC block club and the help of Alderman Harry Osterman's office, the deal was consumated and the house will be demolished starting this Friday, April 15th. I am normally not so gleeful about the demolition of an existing structure, but this particular house was beyond repair, infested with animals and filled with literally tons of soaked papers, old furniture and rusted bicycles.
The previous Owner finished collecting his salvagable belongings and has gone back to his homestead in rural Southwest Wisconsin. He had not been living on Magnolia street for decades and it has become a environmental and and visual disaster. The emotional attachment to the memories the seller had for the place rendered him unable to complete the deal, but after the mobilization of concerned neighbors by super organizer Lynn Pierce, we were able to move the transaction to completion with the help of a reasonable presiding judge who was able to apply the appropriate amount of legal pressure. I am happy to say that never did my communication with the seller become contentious and the conversation was civil until the end. He walked away with a tidy sum of money for a property that had become a legal and emotional burden, and although I cannot speak for him, I believe that letting go was the best thing for him on several levels. I on the other hand am beyond pleased to have the opportunity to add a new piece to the urban fabric in a neighborhood that is very familiar to me, having completed the renovation and addition to a building just two blocks to the south on the same street, our Periscope House, finished in the summer of 2014.
Like the Periscope House, this new project, which we are calling EdgeBox is a custom quality product that will offer buyers the opportunity to work with us on the selection of interior finishes and design and to participate in the construction experience. We will be involved as architects and builders from start to finish in order to ensure that all the details, that are the essence of a successful piece of architecture are managed and executed to match the vision of the design. For complete details about the project including specifications and sales data, visit www.5945magnolia.com