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Envision A Closing School As Place To Live, Work and Play? You bet!

Yes, you might say everyone is building business incubators. Touting, yes, this new hot phenomenon is popping up all over, in many cities across the US. Maybe. Even still, developer, Ghian Forman, is looking straight through this model, at one school that is an architectural gem, in Washington Park, right in the heart of one of Chicago's many underserved south side communities. He has a vision. Ghian and his partners see the use of one of Chicago's closed schools, made predominately of glass, as a valued architectural asset, a gem to truly be transformed "as a place to live, work and play!"

Ghian, says what if the section of the school with the cafeteria becomes a shared kitchen, for a budding chef making a special gumbo or a baker who needs a bakery space to hone their skills and wears? What if in the same location, on the north side of the building an auditorium can be transformed to a place for local plays and entertainment, that you can see even from the streets when all lit up. Or better yet the gymnasium can be a community center space, as a place for improving health, where peace leagues can play and the next south shore drill team can practice or girl, boy/cub scouts can meet?

Duly noted the South and West sides are full of historical architecutal gems that quite frankly are worth saving, when the right investment tools are available to make it happen. One idea was the availability of tax credits, for historical properties. Ghian noted, if there was a state program, with tax credits for these properties, it would entice investors and spur more development, in these underserved neighborhoods. "This doesn't waste is a great tool for folks to use to invest." I agree with Ghian, we have to invest to repopulate our neighborhoods and preserve the history. This can happen. Ghian and his partners have a vision to make this happen and more!

Ghian's love of the development spirit is contagious. Click on the link below to Listen to his interview on Architecture 360 with Lee Bey!

Listen to: Developer's vision for modernist former Chicago school @

One saying goes, "They say those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. So when you are sweeping up your shattered glass, you can come polish my windows."

This rings true for me, don't judge, this is a great idea. Although not completely unique, this idea is definitely thinking outside the box and a young African American developer taking action to make it happen! Can't you just see the beauty in a green, clean, sparkling edifice we all can be proud of? I can see this and even more closed schools as mixed use housing, business centers, community centers and maybe even a school of historical architecture!

Keywords: Architecture 360, Architecure, Ghian Foreman, Reuse, School Closings, Washington Park

Posted in Business News, Community Highlights, Education Initiatives