Like many railroad communities in Chicagoland in recent years, Elgin has been working hard to preserve and enhance its downtown, with the arts as part of the plan. When City officials were introduced to Artspace at an Illinois Main Street Conference, they asked Artspace to help them achieve their goals.
The result is the Elgin Artspace Lofts, a $15.2 million mixed-use project that created 55 units of affordable live/work space for artists and their families plus 5,874 square feet of retail and community space for arts-friendly businesses and nonprofit organizations. The historic Sears structure, occupied most recently by Elgin Community College, has been completely renovated and linked to a new addition.
The City of Elgin and the Elgin arts community were the driving forces behind the project, working with Artspace to plan and develop the facility. Elgin’s residents and civic leaders believe that permanently affordable space for artists will strengthen an emerging arts and culture cluster in downtown Elgin, serve as a catalyst for continued development, bring vibrancy and activity to the street and increase the number of individuals and families living and working downtown.