Sunday, October 11, 2015

What's cookin' inside that old Schulze Bakery building?

Good to hear long-stalled plans to redevelop the former Schulze Bakery are starting to move forward.

The new venture promises to create much-needed jobs in the Washington Park community; a South Side neighborhood that, for the moment, sits between an unkind past of economic abandonment--and a future uncertain, given that a large private Midwestern university is now expanding its footprint there.

Architecturally, the planned new use is a good thing for one of the city's finest neighborhood commercial buildings. Built in 1914, the five-story, terra cotta clad Art Deco terra cuts a beautiful figure on wide and leafy Garfield Blvd between State and Wabash. It's been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982.

For 85 years, bread was made in this industrial cathedral designed by architect John Ahlschlager & Son, filling the neighborhood with an warm, unforgettable--and dearly missed--aroma until the place went out of business in 2004.

Ghian Foreman, head of the Washington Park Development Group, owns the building. He let me and my camera inside last week. All of the breadmaking stuff is gone, as you can imagine. What's left? Tons of glorious empty space...and possibilities.

Huge columns line up like soldiers on each floor, holding up the massive building and the equipment that was once there. Still, enough care was taken to give the columns a bit of decoration.

The major machinery is gone, but countless details of the building's past remain.

This stencil is an example of the impromptu art that's popped on on the walls inside the building.

Bandit left his (or her) mark.
Light pours into the south-facing windows on the bakery's upper floor. The building has 700 windows.

Make it to the roof and you're rewarded with this fine view to the north. The downtown Chicago skyline, just seven miles away, is visible.
Foreman has partnered with 1547 Critical System's Realty, a data center company from Matawan, N.J. to get things going. The New Jersey will cough up the dough and data center knowhow. The $130 million project could take five years.

The renovated building will be called the Midway Technology Centre.


  1. I wonder if that delicious smell still lingers as well?

  2. Gorgeous pics. My 82 year old aunt used to work at Schultz Bakery in the late 50's. I can not wait to share the pictures with her.

  3. I lived on the Boulevard for 40 years, and will never forget that wonderful smell!

  4. I lived on the Boulevard for 40 years, and will never forget that wonderful smell!