Historic Bank Building in Suburban Chicago Moves Closer to Adaptive Reuse

The city council in Berwyn, Ill., an inner-ring western suburb of Chicago, has approved a redevelopment agreement. It will see the historic — but long-vacant — Berwyn National Bank Building at Cermak Road and Oak Park Avenue undergo a renovation into 8,000 square feet of retail space. The project’s developer is Berwyn Center L.L.C. One of its partners, Richard Kahan of KB Real Estate in Northfield, Ill., told CPN that they hope to snag a single tenant for the bank, ideally a large restaurant. Once the renovation is complete in about summer 2009, Tony Griffin, executive director of the Berwyn Development Corp., told CPN, work will begin on an adjacent site, on which will be built a 4-story structure with retail on the ground level and residential condos above. Estimated construction cost for the entire project, which is in a TIF district, is $14 million, according to Griffin. Listed, as the American State Bank, on the National Register of Historic Places since October 2000, the building has been vacant for more than 10 years, Griffin said. Adjacent to the better-known Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Berwyn is home to a population of 54,000 and celebrates its centennial this year. To non-locals, Berwyn is perhaps best known as the site of the 1989 Dustin Shuler sculpture “Spindle,” which consists of eight cars impaled on a 40-foot spike. The sculpture was seen in the 1992 movie “Wayne’s World.” The suburb is also home to what is reportedly one of the world’s largest laundromats. with 161 washers, 140 dryers, 15 flat-screen TVs, free pizza on Wednesdays, free wireless Internet access 24/7 and the largest solar thermal system in Illinois.