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Artist Buys Abandoned Building For $1 And Makes Unbelievable Restoration

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Chicago urban planner and founder of Rebuild Foundation, Theaster Gates, Jr., has created a beautiful restoration of the abandoned Stony Island Savings & Loan Bank building, while maintaining its historical value.

Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation | Photo by: Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation | Photo by: Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

He bought the building for only $1 on the condition that it is restored and repurposed.  Gates transformed the place as the newest cultural hub for black artists, scholars, curators, collectors, local residents and as a home for his foundation.  He renamed the place as Stony Island Arts Bank which opened its doors to the public last month.

Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation | Photo by: Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing

Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation | Photo by: Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

Rebuild Foundation was founded in 2010 to develop and restore vacant homes and buildings.  Some of their finished projects are the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, Black Cinema House, and Dorchester Projects.

Stony Island Savings & Loan Bank was designed by William Gibbons Uffendell in 1923 and served as community savings and loan bank until 1980s.

Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation | Photo by: Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation | Photo by: Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing

In 2012, Gates bought the building in deteriorating state.  He needed to raise $3.7 million for the rehabilitation.  Gates did everything he could to raise the amount, including selling some of the marble chunks of the building as “bank bonds” to support the project.

Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation | Photo by: Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation | Photo by: Tom Harris © Hedrich

The art building houses the books and magazines of John H. Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet, the record collection of the Godfather of House Music, Frankie Knuckles and glass lantern slides from the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute.

Website: Rebuild Foundation |
Twitter: @rebuildfdn 
Instagram: @rebuild_foundation 

Source: Rebuild Foundation