LOGAN SQUARE — Construction is underway on a four-story apartment complex on a site that, for many years, was home to the Oscar Heinemann silk factory, reportedly one of the largest manufacturers of thrown silk in the country in its heyday.
In addition to 59 apartments, the project at 2701 W. Armitage Ave. calls for first-floor retail, 73 underground parking spaces and a rooftop deck, according to a city-issued permit.
The developer behind the project, Stanislaw Pluta of Fair Armitage LLC, did not respond to requests for comment.
Up until last spring, the large site was occupied by the old silk factory buildings, which had a long history in the neighborhood.
According to urban archeologist Eric Nordstrom, the four-building complex was built in 1918 with underground tunnels that allowed workers to travel from building to building. The building’s contractor, R.C. Wieboldt, is also responsible for Union Station and the Shedd Aquarium, Nordstrom wrote in a blog post.
Nordstrom is the founder of Urban Remains, a West Town firm that recycles and re-sells objects from old buildings.
The factory employed about 1,500 workers, which made it one of the largest manufacturers of thrown silk in the country at the time, according to Nordstrom.
But, as the years went on, “unsafe labor conditions” caused a series of strikes, walkouts and sit-ins, which may have led to the factory’s sale to Aetna Industrial Corp. in the 1940s, Nordstrom wrote.
The brick buildings went on to house Henri Fayette-Chayson’s stationery and greeting card company before it was converted into live-work apartments, which was its last use, according to Nordstrom. Crews razed the buildings last March.
Back in 2015, when the development was first presented to the community, the project called for two- and three-bedroom apartments, offering between 950 to 2,150-square feet of space, respectively.
For photos of the silk factory as it was getting torn down, check out Nordstrom’s blog.
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