The Chicago City Council has approved plans for a new daycare at 1749 N Damen Avenue in Bucktown. Located near the intersection with W Willow Street and the famed 606 trail, the proposal will demolish four-existing multi-story commercial structures that have struggled to maintain tenants, including the former home of Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. The project is being led by Kensington Schools under a new LLC, with an undisclosed architect working on its design.
Consuming part of the block from 1741 to 1749 N Damen Avenue, the new school will occupy the majority of the 96 by 121-foot site, or 11,600 square-feet of space. Rising in its place will be a three-story gray-masonry clad structure flush with the sidewalk on Damen, in the rear off of the existing public alley will be a bike rack, loading space, and seven-vehicle parking spaces of which two will be for student drop-off. Adorned with white precast ornamentation, the school will be Kensington’s 15th in the city and serve children from six-week to five-years old according to Block Club.
The first floor will boast a large central lobby with a grand staircase illuminated from above, with four-classrooms including room for cribs and necessary support spaces as well. The floor above will have six-additional classrooms, a kitchen, and a computer/teaching room, the third floor will have three-classrooms and a large outdoor deck with a playground facing the rear. All of the 13 classrooms will feature individual restrooms, communal sinks, coat closers, and plenty of sunlight from the rows of windows fronting Damen and the side alley.
The approval allowed the rezoning of the site from M1-2 Limited Manufacturing/Business Park to that of B1-2 Neighborhood Shopping District for the 24,600 square-foot facility. The proposal has also received approval from the Wicker Park Committee and the Bucktown Community Organization, as the neighborhoods continue to change and add families and the site is near an existing park a block north. At the moment no groundbreaking or construction timelines have been revealed, neither has a demolition permit been applied for.