Residential units planned for upper floors of two commercial buildings across from the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal


The planned rehabilitation of the Edward Fox Photography and former First Staffing buildings across from the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal reportedly will include the addition of residential floors above the storefronts.

A developer seeking to buy the one-story photography studio at 4900 N. Milwaukee Ave. plans to construct two floors of residential units above the ground-floor storefront, which will be leased for new retail or restaurant uses, said Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. The B3-2 zoning of the 6,250-square-foot site permits up to six residential units on the upper floors.

Edward Fox Photography plans to relocate its studio this spring to 6133 N. Northwest Highway in Norwood Park, said studio general manager Kim Bronder. The photography studio, which opened at 2003 N. Milwaukee Ave. in 1902, is the oldest in Chicago and is believed to be one of the two oldest in the country, she said.

The studio moved to Jefferson Park in 1969 when former owner Richard Nopar acquired the Molay Furniture building. Bernie Molay, a longtime officer of the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce, had relocated his store just to the south of the CTA terminal.

A bronze statue depicting a photographer from the early 1900s was installed in front of the studio 25 years ago, and efforts are being made to keep the statue there or elsewhere in the community, said Nopar, whose grandfather was Edward Fox.

The statue was made by artist Bruce Fink, who also designed the decorative, 600-pound cast aluminum front door of the studio, Nopar said.

Not making the move to the new 1,600-square-foot studio on Northwest Highway will be a camera used by Edward Fox more than 100 years ago. It is being donated to the Chicago History Museum, Bronder said.

At one time the studio had its digital production department inside a former employment agency building at 4872 N. Milwaukee Ave. The building has been vacant for several years, but a new owner of the two-story building plans to add a third floor and construct a dwelling unit on each of the upper floors, Brugh said.

Plans call for the façade of the 92-year-old structure to feature its original brick, as siding and other exterior materials recently were removed, Brugh said.

The B3-2 zoning of the 2,525-square-foot parcel allows for up to two residential units on the upper floors, and parking is planned for the rear of the site. A tenant is being sought for the ground-floor storefront, Brugh said.

Also in the area, a sushi restaurant is planning to open inside the former site of Café Soroni, 4945 N. Milwaukee Ave., and rush-hour parking restrictions on Milwaukee between Addison Street and Lawrence Avenue are being lifted. The city recently started removing the no parking signs, Brugh said.