On this dreary Friday morning, Curbed dropped by The East Village's Amber Building for a one-on-one with Building Block's Kevin Miske, owner and redeveloper of the handsome terra cotta-clad structure. The darkened skies and dimly lit interiors made for less than ideal photographic conditions, but we had a go at it anyhow. You'll recall that Building Blocks, a materials-minded restoration firm, has a sumptuous scheme for the adaptive reuse of this ornate but long-neglected property that involves headquartering its own operations and attracting synergistic uses to the remaining square footage. For the ground floor and the rooftop, Miske imagines occupancy by a cafe, brewpub, and/or other lively businesses. And, indeed, the courting is well underway.
As for the renovation, the build-out permit is still pending but Miske and Co have funds in place and been able to execute limited interior improvements under a prior demolition permit. This was apparent on our walk-around, with workers enlarging existing window cuts for greater natural lighting, creating new cuts, installing glass block along the rear face, and preparing to replace the old single-pane front windows with equally large energy-efficient ones. It's all part of Building Block's endeavor to boost the building's energy efficiency to 55% above the norm.
There's much yet to be done, and delays are part of the game. Thus, Miske was unable to provide a precise completion date. The full build-out will include a ballooning penthouse atop the roof, which itself will need rebuilding. The penthouse is where a brewery may come into play. Stay tuned!
·Amber Building Restoration Pictured w/ Expansion, Roof Deck [Curbed Chicago]
·Official Site: The Amber Building