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The arts will officially have a permanent home in Elmhurst! The Elmhurst Center for the Performing Arts announced that the building at 109–119 W. First St. (between Addison and York) will be the location for its proposed 50,000 square foot performing arts center.

Not only will the performing arts center be located directly across from the Metra train station, the building will also be right in the middle of Elmhurst’s vibrant downtown scene—near restaurants, shopping, wine bars, and pubs.

Since 2016, the ECPA board has been searching for the perfect location that would provide easy access via public transportation and access to the central downtown area. The center will offer a permanent home for theater, music, dance, and comedy performances, both local and regional/traveling, as well as space for classes and meetings.

The board is now working on securing funding for the $30 million building. The hope is that funds can be raised through a capital campaign, grants, and naming rights, among other methods. Official plans cannot begin until those funds are secured, meaning the tenants currently occupying the location will not be impacted for three to five years.

The board is continuing to hold public meetings for residents to learn more about getting involved and what the center will bring to the community. So far, support and enthusiasm from residents continue to pour in.

For more information and to see a virtual rendering of the Elmhurst Center for the Performing Arts, visit www.ecpa-elmhurst.org.

Here at Gracik Makinney, we’re thrilled at the progress being made. Our city has long been a proponent of the arts, with four museums, a college, and a world-class library. To find out more about what living the Elmhurst life looks like, visit our website, www.gmregroup.com or call us at (630) 441-5570.

Photo courtesy of Elmhurst Center for the Performing Arts

Elmhurst Art Museum Hosts Only U.S. Stop for Bauhaus Tour

by Thomas Makinney

The Elmhurst Art Museum has reason to toot its horn. Their current exhibition, The Whole World a Bauhaus, which opened last week after a transportation delay, is the only U.S. stop on its international tour.

2019 is the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement, an integrated approach to the art, crafts, and technology. Founded in Germany, it lasted only 14 years due to the Nazi occupation, but the effects are still being felt. The tenants of Bauhaus include the feeling that aesthetic design elements should be a part of everyday objects, from refrigerators to coffee tables.

The EAM has specific ties to the Bauhaus movement, as McCormick House architect Mies van der Rohe was the last director of the school before it closed, leaving its ideals spread across the world. The McCormick House, adjacent to the movement, is one of only three van der Rohe-designed homes in the U.S.

The exhibit explores the influence of Bauhaus through photographs, design pieces, and documents and encourages people to rethink and reimagine the objects around them. There will be events throughout March and April exploring the influence of Bauhaus, such as tours of the McCormick House outlining the Bauhaus influence in the design, as well as lectures and workshops.

This year’s annual museum annual fundraiser is themed after the exhibition. “Soiree 2019: Bauhaus 100” will be held on Sat. April 27 at the museum. The event will include cocktails, a multi-course dinner, entertainment, and live and silent auctions, including Bauhaus artwork by new and established artists. During the evening, the museum will unveil “Parallel Perspectives,”,a light and color installation in the McCormick House.

The exhibit is open through April 20. More information about the exhibition and the soiree can be found at the museum’s website, www. Elmhurstartmuseum.org.

Having a world-class museum in our city is one of the many ways that Elmhurst is a unique and vibrant place to live. To find out more, call us at (630) 441-5570 or reach out through our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

Elmhurst Continues to Attract New Developments, Retailers

by Thomas Makinney


The booming real estate trend in Elmhurst is showing no signs of slowing down, and that is partly due to the vibrant and bustling downtown, which is seeing a virtual renaissance of multi-resident units close to the action.

Mayor Steve Morley made his annual State of the City address recently and addressed the number of residential units that are popping up in the downtown area as well as the planned replacement of the Metra train station.

The downtown will see three large development projects in the next two years—a six-story high-end apartment complex at Addison and First Streets, a luxury apartment complex at Addison and Second Streets, and a 23-unit condo development at the long-vacant site at Cottage Hill and Park Avenues.

Morley was quick to point out that the city has been working with consultants to ensure that the growth isn’t too fast or large for the city’s infrastructure to handle. Experts believe that the city can actually accommodate double the amount of what is being built. Given the two-year timeframe for the three large developments, the city is confident that the absorption will be more gradual than it might appear.

The developments are likely to appeal to young professionals who commute to Chicago and retirees/empty nesters who want to downsize but stay in Elmhurst.

In other good news for the city’s real estate, the building department issued 97 new home permits in 2018, which is four times more than last year, and more than 3,000 overall permits.

Morley also announced that Metra station has obtained $16.4 million for improvements, and he said he was confident they would reach the $18 million mark. The train station is the busiest stop on the Union Pacific West Line, however, having been built in the 1960s, it has become outdated in terms of services it can offer. It also has accessibility issues, a crumbling infrastructure, and heavy congestion in the drop-off lanes.

Here at Gracik-Makinney, we’re thrilled to see the market continue to boom with people who recognize what we’ve always known: Elmhurst truly has something for everyone. It’s the best of big city living in a small town. Reach out to us to find out more. Call (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

 

 

 

Portillo’s Awarded Best Fast-Casual Restaurant in the U.S.

by Thomas Makinney

What started with a little hot dog stand in Villa Park is now recognized as THE best fast-casual dining spot in the U.S.

TripAdvisor.com just awarded their annual Travelers’ Choice awards for restaurants, and Portillo’s came out on top. The awards honored 75 eateries across the country in the categories of fine dining, everyday dining (great meals for any occasion), and fast casual (high-quality meals at great value served quickly).

Whether it’s the Italian beef, the chocolate shakes, or the classic hot dog (all-beef Vienna hot dog on a poppy seed bun, topped with mustard, relish, freshly chopped onions, sliced red tomatoes, kosher pickle slice, celery salt, and slightly spicy sport peppers, and NO ketchup), Portillo’s fans are devoted and legendary.

Started in 1963 by Dick Portillo, the first Portillo’s was a trailer parked in the parking lot of a Villa Park discount store. It now boasts 57 restaurants in seven states in the U.S. It offers catering and ships nationwide.

TripAdvisor ranked restaurants based on quantity and quality of reviews over a one-year timeframe.

Three other Chicago restaurants were recognized in the list. In the everyday dining category, The Purple Pig came in 15th place; while in fine dining, Alinea placed 19th and Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf rounded out that category in 25th place.

Portillos is followed on the top 10 fast-casual dining list by Earl of Sandwich, Shake Shack, Blaze Pizza, In-N-Out Burger, The Taco Stand, Five Guys, Super Duper Burgers, Tacos el Gordo, and Torchy’s Tacos.

You can see the full list here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Restaurants-cFastCasual

Here at Gracik Makinney, we’ll be celebrating with a classic hot dog, a side of crinkle fries, and a chocolate cake shake. To find out more about living in our area, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com.

 

Elmhurst Public Library Receives National Five Star Rating

by Thomas Makinney

Elmhurst residents know just how amazing and special our library is—with its vibrant atmosphere, depth of materials, stunning views, and friendly staff, it’s consistently ranked among the best in the area. But it has officially been once again recognized as one of the best in the entire country.
 
For the second year in a row, the Elmhurst Public Library received a five-star rating from Library Journal’s prestigious national review of public libraries. Out of 7,361 public libraries rated across the country, only 257 qualified as star libraries. In Illinois, 21 libraries were given star ratings, but Elmhurst is one of only three that received the top-tier five-star rating, joining Skokie Public Library and Oak Park Public Library.
 
In fact, Elmhurst Public Library had the honor of being ranked in the top ten libraries ten nationwide and was ranked first in Illinois in the $5-9.9M category.
 
The ratings system looked at five measures: overall circulation, circulation of electronic materials, library visits, program attendance, and public computer use. Circulation and visits were the two strongest indicators, but Library Journal also reports that the best libraries need to have welcoming facilities (yes!), a variety of well-attended community programs (yes!), and a wide range of collections (yes! yes!). Technology use and access were also factored in.
 
Libraries were compared to other libraries with similar funding, meaning that a star rating is given on an apples-to-apples comparison basis and small libraries are not at a disadvantage.
 
The five states with the most Star Libraries are New York (31), Ohio (23), Illinois (21), Massachusetts (13), and Kansas (12). 
 
The breadth of offerings of our library—from the coffee shop to the makerspace, the story time room to the teen room, the senior programming to the business center—makes the library one of the consistently most popular places in town. When you tie in the expansive view of windows overlooking Wilder Park, the fresh coffee and pastries, and the welcoming fireplace, the magic of our library is particularly evident.
 
Congratulations to one of Elmhurst’s crown jewels! To find out more about offerings at the library and other aspects of life in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com.

Elmhurst Centre for the Performing Arts’ Spotlight Gala

by Thomas Makinney

There’s still time to get tickets for one of the most exciting events in town! Elmhurst Centre for the Performing Arts will host its third annual Spotlight Gala on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elmhurst Art Museum.

The nonprofit group is working to raise funds for a downtown state-of-the-art performing arts center, which would comprise a 50,000 square foot facility with two theaters of different sizes, a vibrant lobby, and rooftop green space that would be available for smaller groups. During the gala, the group plans to announce the latest updates in its search for a permanent location.

Approximately 30 local performing arts groups in and around Elmhurst have expressed interest in using the center.

The evening will include performances by Evolution Dance and Extensions Lyrical Dance performers as well as musicians from York High School.  Attendees can dance to music by the talented Elmhurst resident Brian Patti's seven-piece orchestra.

There will also be plenty of food, live and silent auctions, and wine and beer pull. Tim Soszko from Elmhurst Children's Theatre will serve as the evening’s emcee.

The Elmhurst Centre for the Performing Arts (ECPA) was established as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization in 2016. Once the group has landed on a location, they will begin a capital fundraising campaign. Earlier this year, a study conducted by a Chicago-based consulting group confirmed that the city and surrounding area could support a performing arts center.

Tickets to the gala are $150. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ecpa-elmhurst.org.

Here at Gracik Makinney Group, we’re thrilled to watch the vision of ECPA come to life. The city has a well-known, vibrant arts scene, and there is no doubt a center would be a jewel in the crown. To find out more about living here, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.

Image rendition courtesy of Elmhurst Centre for the Performing Arts.

 

 

Elmhurst Explores Ideas of Beehives and Food Trucks

by Thomas Makinney

We love how the leaders and planners in Elmhurst are constantly challenging themselves to improve and make life better for residents. Right now, the city is listening to an influx of requests and considering two concepts: one to allow residential beekeeping and one eyeing the possibility of food trucks.

Residents have been buzzing about the possibility of beehives since the city allowed educational institutions to establish hives. Currently, Elmhurst College has two thriving hives, and York High School has plans in the works but nothing up yet.

Of the 39 communities in DuPage County, 15 of them allow some type of residential beekeeping, usually with some type of restriction on lot sizes and distance between residences and with the understanding that the practice is only in hobby form.

Members of the Public Affairs and Safety committee are now researching specifically how those communities handle the bees and beehives.

Also hitting the pavement are members of the Development Committee as they begin looking at the possibility of food trucks in Elmhurst.  These are food trucks that actually cook the food as opposed to canteen trucks, which sell drinks and pre-prepared food and are popular around construction sites, and ice cream trucks.

Although the food trucks aren’t expected to generate booming business, alderman see them being popular at block parties. But they want to ensure the trucks don’t have a detrimental impact on brick and mortar restaurants and bars.  One suggestion was to allow them to operate near a central downtown location and only between the hours of 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Committee members are now going out to talk to local restaurant owners and members of Elmhurst City Centre.

Both topics are on the agenda for the council’s next meeting on Oct. 22.

Here at Gracik Makinney Group, we love how our city is constantly exploring new ways to grow and change. To find out more about living in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

 


 

Elmhurst Considering Rooftop Decks

by Thomas Makinney

Rooftop bars, restaurants, and other sky-high amenities could be coming to Elmhurst soon. The city council voted last week to send the idea of rooftop decks to the Zoning and Planning Commission who will open up the possibility in a series of public hearings.

The possibilities for what to put on rooftops range from bars and restaurants to recreational/fitness spaces, dog runs, fire pits, community gathering sites, and even swimming pools.

The city council’s current recommendations for rooftop amenity decks include a required three-foot setback on all sides from exterior walls for safety reasons, a height limit of 15 feet, and a space limit of 25 percent of the roof footprint. The decks would have to meet city building codes and receive engineering approval.

Hours of operation for rooftop businesses would follow the same guidelines as Elmhurst beer gardens, and they would be subject to the same rules on noise and lighting.

Developers approached the city in June with the idea of having amenity decks on downtown buildings after several businesses inquired about using their roofs as gathering spaces. Currently, only structures used for housing mechanical equipment can be on the rooftop, and any of these structures, including chimneys, cannot extend more than 15 feet above the allowable building height restriction.

Among the decisions still to be determined is where the rooftop structures could be located, but they could potentially be allowed throughout Elmhurst.  The decks are only being considered for commercial and multi-unit buildings, although planners haven’t ruled out the possibility of allowing them on single-family residences.

The zoning and planning commission hasn’t yet set a date for public hearings.

Here at Gracik Makinney Group, we love how our city expands and adapts to the needs and wants of residents. As our downtown continues to flourish, rooftop decks are yet another way to soak up all we have to offer.

For more information about life in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

 

Windy City Ninjas Comes to Elmhurst!

by Thomas Makinney


The perennially popular summer TV “American Ninja Warriors” is coming to life in Elmhurst! Kids and families can now experience the fun and thrills (and amazing workout) by jumping, climbing, leaping, swing, and balancing through an action-packed obstacle course.

Windy City Ninjas opened its 12,000 sq. ft. facility in Elmhurst last week. This is the second location following the popular obstacle course gym in Chicago.

Owner Tom Rhomberg started Windy City Ninjas to help children who may not otherwise be engaged in organized sports a fun alternative for fitness. Although anyone, athletes included, will benefit from the self-confidence and cross-training that an obstacle workout encompasses.

The facility offers structured 55-min. classes for ages 2-15, which are broken down by age group. Similar to the TV show, kids complete multiple circuits focused on specific areas. They rotate stations every 12-15 min. to work on different skills, such as strength, agility, and endurance, but each station packs fun along with exercise.

During the last 10 minutes of each class, students tackle a full obstacle course, which varies each week for variety and allows kids to get a sense of accomplishment at how much they are improving.

The gym also offers adult classes as well as a Family Fun Night every other Friday evening, where parents and kids can compete and play together. There is also an Open Gym on the weekends, which allows full access to the facility. In addition, kids can host 80-min birthday parties that includes an instructor and pizza and cake.

Windy City Ninjas is located at 684 W. Lake St. To find out more, including class times and pricing, visit www.windycityninjas.com.

Here at Gracik Makinney Group, we love seeing new businesses open up, and this is a fresh take on traditional fitness and sports training. To find out more about other exciting happenings in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com.


Two exciting new businesses will be moving into Elmhurst this summer, and we can’t wait.

Fry the Coop will be opening at North Ave and Route 83. The restaurants serves Nashville hot chicken—fried chicken slathered in a spicy sauce, ranging from mild/no-heat to super spicy (made with the certifiably world’s hottest chili, the Carolina Reaper). They serve chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, chicken and waffles, and their popular donut fried chicken sandwich, which is served on a glazed doughnut.

This is the second Fry the Coop location for Villa Park native Joe Fontana. His first restaurant in Oak Lawn opened in 2017 and has been an instant hit. Fontana grew up cooking meatballs with his grandmother and felt fried chicken kept with that traditional home cooking theme. He keeps the menu small to ensure the quality, and the chicken is fresh, never frozen, and hand breaded daily. In addition to chicken, Fry the Coop serves a handful of sides and a rotating selection of craft beers.

On a different scale, but equally exciting is the new At Home home décor superstore set to open in late summer in the former Kmart space on Route 83. Designed to make decorating affordable and fun, the 103,000-square-foot space will feature more than 50,000 home decorating items, including furniture, rugs, housewares, patio furniture, and a wide selection of seasonal décor.

The store focuses on a wide range of affordable items, with about 400 new products coming in every week. Based in Plano, Texas, this is their fifth store in Illinois. A location in Geneva opened in May to rave reviews.

We love seeing vibrant new businesses move into our community! And we’re looking forward to relaxing in a redecorated space after a delicious fried chicken dinner!

To find out more about business and life in Elmhurst, call us at 630-441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.

 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 72

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