LOGAN SQUARE — A former bodega at Diversey and Francisco avenues, recognizable by its huge sign that used to light up, will soon see new life as a mixed-use project thanks to Moss Architecture.
The firm is renovating the building, 2857 W. Diversey Ave., and converting it into three commercial spaces, two for their office and another for rent. They also plan to build one residential unit above it, according to Matt Nardella of Moss Architecture. It's the first development project for the Chicago-based firm.
The renovations, which Nardella hopes to finish by May, won't require a zoning change, which is part of the reason the firm went with a reuse project.
"If I can avoid a rezone, I will at any cost," Nardella said. "I have no idea how it'll go and I have to wait a long time. If a property happens to be competitive, I don't have the time to figure it out and apply for a rezone that I might not get."
That, combined with the fact that Moss always prefers to reuse old buildings, made the Diversey bodega a perfect fit, he said.
"A lot of our work is adaptive reuse. That's what we like, and what we're familiar with and what makes Chicago so special," he said.
The former bodega at 2857 W. Diversey Ave. [Courtesy/Moss Architecture[
The building has sat vacant for at least two years. It was built in two parts, one in the early 1900s and the other in the 1950s, according to Nardella. During the demolition, the Moss team found some original features they plan to incorporate in the project, like a wooden, walk-in cooler and old mixed masonry.
The huge sign is also staying put. Nardella said he plans to restore it and maintain it as part of the building.
As for the commercial tenant, Nardella said he hopes to bring in a business that will complement Moss Architecture. The only type of business that Moss can't accommodate is a restaurant with a full kitchen due to lack of space, he said.
Moss has operated out of a Lakeview office for the last eight years. Before that, Nardella was running the firm out of his apartment. The Logan Square space, which is double the size of the Lakeview location, will allow Moss to expand and focus on other facets of the business, like making furniture and general contracting.
Moss also has a number of clients in Logan Square like Dill Pickle co-op and Intelligentsia. The firm is designing Dill Pickle's new location next to the Spaulding entrance of the Logan Square Blue Line.
To read more about the reuse project, visit Moss Architecture's blog.
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