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Oldest 'L' Station To Be Rented To Theaster Gates, U. of C. For Arts Block

By Sam Cholke | June 14, 2017 4:35pm | Updated on June 18, 2017 9:59am
 The CTA renting its 125-year-old train station to the University of Chicago and Theaster Gates.
The CTA renting its 125-year-old train station to the University of Chicago and Theaster Gates.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

WASHINGTON PARK — The Chicago Transit Authority board on Wednesday agreed to lease its oldest “L” station to Theaster Gates and the University of Chicago.

The university’s Lake Park Associates will invest $219,000 into the old — and now-shuttered — Garfield Boulevard Green Line station to make it a showcase for the history of the neighborhood, a business incubator and an information kiosk for navigating the neighborhood and its namesake park.

“By investing in transit, we are making investments in our neighborhoods, as evidenced by the positive changes happening in the Washington Park community,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Garfield Gateway project will complement the larger neighborhood redevelopment that is already under way while improving the overall commuter experience.”

 U. of C. is planning an information kiosk and business incubator for the former train station.
U. of C. is planning an information kiosk and business incubator for the former train station.
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Courtesy of CTA

The renovated station is expected to open in late 2018.

The station built in 1892 for trains arriving at the western edge of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition is the oldest “L” station still standing in the city.

In April, Gates said he wanted to use the train station as a kiosk for information about the neighborhood or as the entrance for a neighboring theater project, expected to start construction this summer.

The lease will roll the CTA station into the University of Chicago’s larger plans for an arts block on Garfield Boulevard.

The Washington Park Historical Society had made a competing bid for the space to use it as their permanent home.

Gates in April said he was open to rolling some of the competing ideas into a single project for the space.

The station closed in 1995 and finding a new use for it has been part of a planned $50 million renovation of the Garfield Boulevard Green Line stop.

The lease lasts for 10 years with an option to renew the lease for another 10 years.