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Megamall's Terra Cotta May Get Second Life After Demolition

By Mina Bloom | December 21, 2016 6:29am | Updated on December 22, 2016 9:31am
 Crews at work dismantling the terra cotta on top of the Megamall.
Crews at work dismantling the terra cotta on top of the Megamall.
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DNAinfo/Mina Bloom

LOGAN SQUARE — After years of public debate and planning, crews are finally preparing to tear down the Megamall to make way for Logan's Crossing, a massive mixed-use development.

On Tuesday, crews were seen carefully dismantling the building's terra cotta at the request of Logan Square Preservation. The neighborhood group hopes to reuse one of the building's 16-foot terra cotta archways somewhere in the neighborhood and plans to salvage the rest.

"It would work really nicely as a stand-along archway in a park context," Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation, said of the archway, which has eagles perched on top.

"It tells a story of the old auto district that used to be in the neighborhood and it relates well to the monument because it echoes the eagle motif."

Though there was talk of reusing more terra cotta, Schneider said it ended up being too expensive. As a result, none of the terra cotta will be incorporated into the new development, he said.

Terraco, the developer behind the project, is footing most of the bill for the dismantling process, according to Schneider.

Kevin Gazley, senior vice president at Terraco, said his team pushed back the structural demolition to do the preservation work. Now his team is aiming to begin either Dec. 27 or Jan. 3.

Demolition was originally slated for the spring and has been pushed back several times. Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) formally announced that it would begin Dec. 5, but that didn't happen due to issues with city permits.

The $100 million development was first proposed about 1½ years ago and has undergone a few changes during the community review process. It will include two buildings connected by a sky bridge on a 2.7-acre lot.

In addition to the apartments, plans include more than 113,000 square feet of retail space, including a 42,000-square-foot grocery store and 40,000-square-foot fitness center.

The first tenants will move in 1½ years after the start of construction.

In its heyday, the Megamall was the home of an assortment of restaurants and shops selling clothing, cellphones, gym shoes and all manner of tchotchkes. But many say it had been in poor condition and in constant need of repair virtually since it since opened in 1995.

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