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 overall 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 offers 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 former historic Sears structure, previously occupied 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 property. Elgin’s residents and civic leaders believed that permanently affordable spaces for artists could 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.