Who manufactured these windows?
February 21, 2017 8:21 AM   Subscribe

I live in a condo building in a newly created 'historic district' which apparently means the city wants us to put back the original wood windows. Nobody in our building can afford that. Around 20 years ago all the windows were replaced with white vinyl windows. Meanwhile the building is now falling into disrepair because we can't get a permit to fix the crappy windows we do have.

So I'm trying to figure out who manufactured the windows at 2516 N Kedzie and 1704 N. Humboldt. I've contacted both owners and I can't get a response. The first is owned by Fischman who owns a bunch of rental property around here and the other is Bickerdike Apartments who own and rent affordable housing units. As far as I can tell, these were the only buildings that have replaced their windows (at least with a permit) in the last 10 years in the 'Logan Square Boulevards Historic District.' If anyone knows otherwise let me know.

Here is a closer photo of the windows at 1704 N Humboldt.

Link to streetviews:
2516 N Kedzie
1704 N Humboldt

If you can find any other locations in this district that have gotten a window permit through let me know.
posted by mike_bling to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Approach your city council person with a request for a tax rebate or abatement to cover the total replacement of the windows to their original condition. There should be some way to offset this investment. I'm not sure how your jurisdiction works for these sorts of things, but if there is not a program or special loan you can obtain to help, perhaps there should be and your council person can likely help navigate this issue.
posted by jbenben at 9:09 AM on February 21, 2017

This is a question for your Alderman.
posted by juniperesque at 9:19 AM on February 21, 2017

Do you know anyone who lives in the building? Or could you possibly get a tour of the building as a prospective tenant? If you can get inside one of the units, check for a manufacturer's mark in the following places on the window:
  • etched on a corner of the glass
  • engraved on the hardware
  • on a small label inside the frame or on the edge of a sash (visible when the window is open)

    For windows made by the large window manufacturer I work for, you'd find manufacturer info in at least one of those places, and maybe in all three depending on the vintage.

  • posted by superna at 10:15 AM on February 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

    Well, I tried searching for the permits for these here. It says it includes all building permits from 2006 forward. I didn't find any permits for the two buildings you identified. Maybe they did the work without a permit? Or maybe this type of permit is issued by a different entity?

    I understand taking this tack, but I would encourage you to follow another as well: contacting your Alderman and possibly hiring a lawyer. If the windows had already been replaced, maybe there's some way to grandfather having new vinyl ones put in? I mean, currently they don't have a the "historic" look they're going for, so what's the harm if you replace them with vinyl again, but maybe dark ones like those in the buildings you've identified? These are a questions both a lawyer and your Alderman might be able to help you with.
    posted by purple_bird at 10:15 AM on February 21, 2017

    There are almost definitely no carrots here, because we are an association and not a business, which would have some tax incentives to do restoration work. We've already gotten the stick (fines). My alderman can't even fix a sidewalk much less help with navigating landmarks. I guess I will try to get into the buildings somehow.
    posted by mike_bling at 10:37 AM on February 21, 2017

    Doing a search for Chicago replacement windows turned up the Preservation Chicago website, which lists the contractors who do this work. Digging around on those sites brought me to the conclusion that these windows are made by Marvin.
    posted by momochan at 12:02 PM on February 21, 2017

    Upon further digging, this page says the windows at 1704 N. Humboldt were restored.
    posted by momochan at 12:21 PM on February 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

    Windows are funny things with Historic Boards of Review. I've had dealings with the State Hist. Pres. office here about windows, it was absolutely bizzare - this coming from a person who's job title was "Historic Preservationist" at one point and was a preservation intern with Colonial Williamsburg.
    I think you need to talk to whoever is the Preservation Officer for your area.
    The mantra of preservation is "Maintain rather than repair, repair rather than replace".
    I can't imagine you couldn't get a permit to repair the windows, I'd question if one was even needed.
    If nothing else, the magic phrase "we want to replace the windows in kind" might be helpful - i.e., you don't want to change any part of the appearance, just replace like with like.

    The situation I alluded to at the top was a warehouse building with absolutely rusted to s**t steel windows from the 1920's that was being converted to apartments. The windows had been built into the brickwork, and would have to be sawed up to get them out to repair them, which would have been an open ended task time and money wise. The folks in the State Hist. Pres. Office wanted me to repair them. The Owner wanted to replace them with some double glazed aluminum windows that had the exact same profile - which was developed by NPS.
    I finally got their attention with a photo of a wood No. 2 pencil stuck through the frame.

    The aluminum replica windows look good, and have the same sightlines (width of mullions and muntins) as the originals. They run about 70/sf installed in this part of the world (coastal Georgia), your labor would be higher.

    A book like respectful rehabilitation would help you with the jargon useful in dealing with them.

    If your main goal is to find the manufacturer, call a few local window replacement companies to come look at yours. Somebody is going to recognize them. Remember that they may be an outdated model with no parts available though.

    I'd shoot for "replace in kind" if you can't find the manuf.
    posted by rudd135 at 6:38 PM on February 21, 2017

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