HUMBOLDT PARK — The Puerto Rican Cultural Center bought a former sausage warehouse on Division Street as it works to build an arts center that will include a performing arts theater, studio and living quarters for artists and a piano lounge.
The Paseo Boricua Arts Center is to be built on Humboldt Park's Paseo Boricua, the strip of Division Street between California and Western.
The Puerto Rican Cultural Center kicked off its five-year strategic plan to preserve and support the Puerto Rican community in Humboldt Park with the purchase of the warehouse at 2713 W. Division St., the former home of the Ashland Sausage Company.
“The acquisition of those properties is a major step in trying to commercially and culturally anchor our community as it faces the onslaught of an ever-encroaching gentrification process which seeks to erase our historical memory from the Greater Humboldt Park community,” read an announcement from Ald. Roberto Maldonado’s office.
The properties will be converted into the new center, which will include 14 live-work spaces for community artists, a 99-seat theater for performance arts and dramatic productions, a retail arts gallery and a “wines of Latin America/Spirits of the Caribbean Piano Lounge,” according to Maldonado’s office.
The 3,000-square-foot building sits across from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center along Paseo Boricua.
“The project will definitely invigorate the financial development of the community, and will provide a place where artists can realize themselves both economically and creatively,” according to Maldonado’s office. “It will truly foment a sense of place for our cultural workers.”
Belmont Bank will provide financing for the project. The Division Street Business Development Association and its executive director, Eduardo Arocho, will manage the initiative.
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