Wicker Park building showed warning signs before facade critically injured woman, neighbors say

City takes emergency legal action to repair facade at 1227 N. Milwaukee

Evelyn Holmes Image
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Warning signs at building where falling facade injured woman
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There were warning signs before a woman was critically injured by a crumbling Wicker Park building facade at 1227 N. Milwaukee Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Neighbors said there were warning signs before a woman was critically injured by a crumbling building facade in Wicker Park.

Scaffolding workers were on site at 1227 N. Milwaukee Thursday afternoon, making sure the area is safe after part of the facade fell off the building the day before.

Nearby business owner Ross Luisi knew weeks ago there could be trouble.

"The facade had fallen like three weeks ago," Luisi said. "The debris lay there for a week, week and a half until the scaffolding came up. And then last night, with the winds, pulled the rest of it down."

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Police said debris slammed a vehicle driving by Wednesday night. The driver wasn't hurt, but debris hit a 22-year-old woman who was on the sidewalk and she had to go to the hospital.

The building at 1227 N. Milwaukee is currently vacant. On Thursday, a circuit court granted the city of Chicago an emergency motion to make necessary repairs.

"I've been running my business and living out of here for almost 30 years," Luisi said. "I don't even know. I know the owners of the other business, but not that one."

The Cook County Clerk's records has Virgin Future Properties, LLS Series 5, as the building's owner.

According to the city, the building's owner has been non-responsive throughout the process -- and the building does have a history.

After an anonymous caller tipped off the city on March 21, the buildings department told the owner to erect a heavy-duty canopy, have an engineer assess the facade, and have a contractor make emergency repairs.

On March 23, inspectors wrote a building code violation to register the location as a vacant building.

The buildings department took all that action before the debris fell Wednesday. City officials said the building's owner could face other enforcement action.