LOGAN SQUARE — The wall of the former's Grace's Furniture building that has been at the center of a years-long billboard battle is coming down.
On Thursday, the city issued an emergency demolition permit for the south-facing wall of the building, which includes two blank billboards overlooking Logan Square proper.
Any sort of redevelopment of the building at 2618 N. Milwaukee Ave. has been held up for years due to a legal battle over the billboards on the building, which is one of the most prominent structures overlooking the square and the Illinois Centennial Monument.
According to Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), the wall has to be demolished for safety reasons due to cracks, bulging and falling debris.
However, the wall will be rebuilt, and it's unclear if the billboards will go back up.
Ramirez-Rosa didn't provide a date of demolition, but said the Commission on Landmarks "fast-tracked" the permit because of the wall's hazardous condition.
The owner of the billboards, which have been blank for years, sued the city over the 2013 decision to block signs on the side of the building.
Because of that, the owner of the property had been unable to redevelop the building as potential users, including a rumored hotel, would have had a large portion of the side of the building facing the square blocked by signs.
A developer behind the hotel project had been holding back due to the pending legal issues, sources have said.
"We hope the demolition of the wall is a sign that the building is moving toward redevelopment," said Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation.
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