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Landmark Lakefront Mansion on Sheridan Could Become Co-Working Space

By Linze Rice | November 11, 2015 6:44am
 The historic Colvin House at 5940 N. Sheridan Road could become a co-working space if the city agrees to change the property's zoning designation.
Colvin House
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EDGEWATER — One of the Far North Side's last surviving lakefront mansions could be restored and transformed into a co-working and office space — if the city can clear the landmark building for re-zoning first.

The historic Colvin House, 5940 N. Sheridan Road, was built in 1909 by George Maher, a cohort of Frank Lloyd Wright known to have dabbled in his own unique versions of prairie-style homes.

The building was designated a Chicago landmark in 1994.

Now Angela and Stelios Valavanis, an Evanston couple who own Creative Coworking, want to bring their "homey" approach to rentable work spaces to Edgewater.

"I got really excited when I saw that that particular house was for sale because for me it immediately screamed 'Creative Coworking,'" she said. "Edgewater seems like the right distance away [from Evanston], and it's an artsy community and it's just a good fit ... so we're pretty excited to have a space there."

The building is currently zoned for residential purposes only, but after a community meeting where feedback on the project was overwhelmingly positive, Ald. Harry Osterman said he planned to introduce an ordinance that would allow the development to move forward.

Angela Valavanis told DNAinfo Tuesday the sale would not be final until the city agreed to the zoning change, but she hoped that by next fall local residents could be working from within the mansion's walls.

The business would be modeled after the Evanston location: Users can buy monthly memberships or pay at an hourly rate to use personal offices, group work spaces, conference rooms and even a grand room that can hold around 100 people, Valavanis said.

The exterior of the home would remain the same because it's protected by its landmark status, save for minor fixes that need to be made. Its interior is allowed to change, but with bright chandeliers, spiral staircases, booming archways and detailed walls, much of the inside will closely reflect its former glory, Valavanis said.

She said she promised to restore and take care of the "gorgeous" 6,094-square-foot historic home.

Artwork from local artists would be displayed throughout, and once a month she said she would hold an open house gallery to showcase the work.

A neighbor who walked by the house Tuesday afternoon said she hoped whoever bought the home would take care of it, and pointed to an adjacent empty lot where another mansion that had become an "eyesore" was demolished.

She hoped the Colvin House would not suffer the same fate.

If all goes well, Valavanis said she hopes to get all the final paperwork and city approvals so she can begin the process of cleaning and tending to the home after years of neglect.

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