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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Luxury Apartments Coming To Fire-Ravaged Furniture Store Site In Avondale

The site at 2945 N. Milwaukee Ave. is being redeveloped by realtor Grace Martinez, whose family has owned the property for nearly 30 years.

A rendering of the four-story apartment project.
Courtesy of Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa
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AVONDALE — Luxury apartments are coming to the vacant lot where the Famsa furniture building stood before it was destroyed in an extra-alarm fire last summer.

The site at 2945 N. Milwaukee Ave. is being redeveloped by realtor Grace Martinez, whose family has owned the property for nearly 30 years, according to Cook County property records.

Martinez’s project, which does not require a zoning change, calls for a four-story building with nine apartments — three on each floor — and ground-floor retail.

Credit: Courtesy of Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa
The plan calls for three apartments on each floor, according to Schoenenman.

Martinez was reached, but deferred most questions to her general contractor, Ron Schoenenman, who said to expect luxury apartments with stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. 

The building is expected to be complete one year from the start of construction, which could come any day now, depending on when the the last city permits come through, according to Schoenenman.

“We should expect the [final] permit any day, but with the city, that could be a couple weeks,” the contractor said.

Schoenenman said he didn’t know how much rent would be. 

The lot is only vacant after a massive fire destroyed a two-story furniture store building there last summer.

Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
(left) A massive extra-alarm fire destroyed Famsa furniture building last June. (right) The city was forced to tear down the building as a result.

No one was injured in the blaze, but the city had to tear down the building because it was in imminent danger of collapsing.

Chicago Fire Dept. officials determined there was “nothing suspicious” behind the fire. They said it appeared to have been started by an appliance or extension cord that was plugged in for too long.

City records showed that the building — believed to date to the 1940s and in the 1950s was home of Bass Brothers Furniture Co. — failed its annual building inspection in December of 2015. City inspectors cited a failure to maintain an electric elevator.

At the time, the Avondale store was one of four Chicago area stores owned by the Monterrey, Mexico-based chain Famsa. It took over the Martinez family’s business, Grace’s Furniture, in 2013. 

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), whose ward includes the site, encouraged residents to contact his office should they have questions or concerns about the redevelopment project.

Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
The lot at 2945 N. Milwaukee Ave. is currently vacant.
Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
Grace Martinez, whose family has owned the property for nearly 30 years, is behind the redevelopment project.

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