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The fight to save the site of legendary Chicago venue The Warehouse has been given a boost after all seven members of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted to grant the building landmark status, according to RA reporting.
Widely regarded as the “birthplace” of house music, a Save the Warehouse! petition that was signed by over 13,000 people was launched last month by Preservation Chicago, a local architectural protection campaign group.
Its success means that the site of the Warehouse is one step closer to being protected from demolition. A final decision is expected in June.
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Speaking to RA, Preservation Chicago spokesperson Max Chavez said: “We’re so excited for this development and are optimistic it will ultimately result in The Warehouse becoming an official Chicago landmark.”
Chavez called upon the Chicago public to show their support for the campaign, saying: “The more support there is from the public and other involved parties, the more we can convey to the City just how important The Warehouse is.”
The club was originally opened in 1977, and was an early space in pioneering house music, with the name for the genre originally derived as shorthand from the name ‘The Warehouse’. Frankie Knuckles was originally the club’s resident DJ, before he opened his own club Power Plant.
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Its site was sold to new owners in December, who have currently given no assurances that it will be protected. The Save the Warehouse! petition’s original description read: “When the building sold in December 2022, the listing mentioned both its music history, and the potential for demolition and new development. Teardowns of vintage industrial buildings in the West Loop for new construction have been occurring at a rapid pace.
“Despite persistent outreach by Preservation Chicago, the new ownership has been unresponsive, and plans for the building’s future remain unknown,” it continued.
“The City of Chicago must act now to take proactive steps to protect this building of immense cultural significance by designating it a Chicago Landmark.”
It is understood that the new owners of the property, were present at the hearing. A spokesperson for their legal representatives Nathan & Kaminiski told RA that “the firm is not looking to impede anything of cultural significance”.
For more information on the Save the Warehouse! petition, click here.
Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins