WICKER PARK — A historic building that's been at the fulcrum of Wicker Park's busiest intersection for more than a century is preparing for facade renovations.
The protective scaffolding around the massive triangular Flat Iron building that straddles the North and Milwaukee intersection was installed in May and has a permit to stay there until next May, according to city records.
A city spokesman confirmed on Thursday that there is an active work permit "to investigate and document the terra cotta façade" and remove "select pieces of terra cotta for mold creation."
Another permit, submitted to the Department of Landmarks in June and not yet approved, involves repairing and replacing terra cotta and glazed brick.
Bob Berger, owner of the building, did not respond to requests for comments on the project, nor did contractor Dolton-based Mark 1 Restoration.
The Flat Iron building was constructed in 1913 and is home to more than 30 artist studios, a Bank of America branch and several small businesses, including Asrai Garden, The Riot Feast, Liquor Park, Furious Spoon, Ash's Smoke Shop and Debonair Social Club.
Though the building was initially used for manufacturing, "in the 1980s it became the epicenter for art which it is today ... it has a unique charm and is a special place that holds creativity and energy and history," Anthony Moseley, who operates a theater company in the building, said in 2013.
WTTW historian Geoffrey Baer says the Flat Iron Building, designed by the famed firm Holabird and Roche, cost $250,000 to build.
"It was hoped that the shape of the building — triangular and reminiscent of a clothes iron — would attract a department store anchor tenant, but that never came to pass," Baer says.
Prepping for Flat Iron facade renovations, Aug. 1, 2017. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
Scaffolding in front of the Flat Iron building. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
View of the Flat Iron Arts building from The Robey. Raf Winterpacht