Groovy Wicker Park Apartments Not Lived in Since The 1970s Reopen Monday

After a massive year-long rehab, 20 vintage studio and one-bedroom apartments called The Milwood Apartments at 1422 N. Milwaukee Ave. are now leasing, according to Flats Chicago.

Monthly rental rates for the apartments, which range from 400 to 600 square feet, start at $1,600. The first tenants can move in as early as Monday, said Mark Heffron, managing director of Cedar Street Companies, which owns the apartments.

Located in a prominent 1890s-era building just north of Milwaukee and Wood, the three-story building contained 12 boarded-up apartments that had been untouched since the 1970’s when it was sold last year.

One of the building’s apartments features a vintage billboard painted over an entire wall in the exposed brick room. The mural was discovered behind drywall during the interior demolition, Heffron said.

Flats Chicago converted the old apartments into 20 millennial-friendly units. Amenities include in-unit washers and driers, oak floors, exposed brick and retro-style Smeg refrigerators. Parking is also available on site.

“This is [Flats Chicago’s] first entry into Wicker Park. We’re excited to be on a very strong retail corridor in such a sought after residential neighborhood,” Heffron said.

The building was previously owned by the late Ben Neuman’s family, who founded Ben’s Shoes at 1424 N. Milwaukee Ave. It was subequently sold to Cedar Street Co., which has converted several distressed Uptown and Far North Side vintage buildings into apartments.

Scott Neuman, one of Ben Neuman’s sons, previously said that his father had a good reason for keeping the apartments boarded up.

“My father didn’t want to be a landlord,” he said. “When he took over the building in the 1960s he realized he didn’t want to be a slum landlord. It is a lot of work to keep up apartments but he wanted to have consistent rent from the retail storefronts, which he always did.”

Ben Neuman died in 2003 at age 83. Ben’s Shoes in Wicker Park closed in 2012. The retail storefronts are now home to Brooklyn Industries and Emma, a boutique that replaced Ben’s Shoes two years ago.

DNAinfo | Alisa Hauser