One ‘Big, Bright, Beautiful’ Co-op Coming Your Way (FUNDING REQUIRED!)

The “vanilla box” (architecture-speak for an empty shell) that is the outwardly restored Gerber Building now belongs to our current 1,160 Chicago Market Owners.

It’s wildly exciting, right?

So as we simultaneously unleash our strategy to Grow (the number of owners), Fund (our construction and store-operating budgets) and Build (our Co-op), it’s especially fun to envision just what our Co-op will actually look like come Grand Opening Day.

A conversation with Dan Miller, an architect as well as a Chicago Market Board member and Chair of the Site/Architecture (Site/Arch) Team, reveals the behind-the scenes design work that will turn our currently empty shell into our “big, bright, beautiful market.”“Every professional involved in building and designing our store – the members of the Site/Arch Team, our store designer, John Hatzung of FreshArc, and Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker of Wrap Architecture – are ready to reignite our collaboration,” Dan says. “We already have a preliminary and conceptual design for the store that our consultants created in June 2017 for our proposal. Now our work begins in earnest.“We’ll be having ongoing discussions about our building program (more arch-speak),” Dan explains, “which includes everything from specific definitions of the various areas of the store...the tone and feeling we want the design and interior finishes to evoke…how we’ll ensure the store reflects the cultural identity and diversity of the Uptown neighborhood…as well as making the store sustainable and energy efficient.”

Unique. Warm and friendly. Beautiful and inviting. Unlike any market you’ve seen before.

Those are just some of the touchy-feely descriptors we all want in our Co-op. Yet behind these aspirational attributes is a whole host of nuts-and-bolts design and construction considerations that have to meet endless construction regulations, government-mandated EPA guidelines and the realities of construction costs. In short, it’s a complex and intricate job best left to those in the know.

“Given the highly technical nature of the task – as well as the need to create a community-based cooperative market that will survive the realities of the grocery marketplace – we feel extremely fortunate to have both Wrap Architecture and FreshArc on our team,” says Dan. “Both firms have had incredible success with buildings of similar scope, and we have full confidence in their ability to create a store our Owners will love and, most importantly, where everyone will want to shop.”
Now that we have a site and our Co-op is finally within reach, Dan says Owners need to keep in mind another reality as well.

“We will need to pay some substantial bills once we get this ball rolling. Between growing our Ownership rolls, our funding programs and construction, we’ll have a lot of plates spinning at the same time, and we’ll need everyone’s help to keep them in the air.”

Dan’s point makes this the perfect time to put out a call for Owners to jump in and volunteer. Our Co-op is just that: OURS. Getting to that glorious day when we can all bring our Chicago Market totes on our first shopping outing will take every one of us. Don’t miss a minute of it!

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Not yet an Owner and wondering how you can get in on the ground floor of making Chicago Market a reality?
Become an Owner now!

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