For Waukegan, an important step in revitalizing their city was the renovation of the historic Karcher Hotel into a mixed-use arts facility. The “Karcher Building,” as it is known on the National Register of Historic Places, is a nine-story building which opened in 1928 as a 140-room hotel, but fell on hard times. By the 1970s it had been turned into a senior citizens’ residence, but had been standing vacant since 1984 when Artspace entered the scene. Artspace renovated the Karcher to create 36 units of affordable live/work space for artists and their families plus 2,811 square feet of ground-floor retail and community space for arts-friendly businesses and nonprofit organizations. Other amenities include a two-story gallery and community room, computer learning center and an outdoor patio.
Transforming a Neighborhood
This historic building has brought new life to downtown Waukegan. Its site, just a block from City Hall, demonstrates Waukegan's commitment to the revitalization of downtown.
Transforming a Building
Care was taken during the construction process to respect the existing detailing of the historic building while updating systems and spaces to meet the demands of the new program.