One year after officially opening, the Literacenter in Chicago’s West Loop has redesigned some existing space and expanded because of growing demand among members for offices available for rent. The additional 3,500 square feet provides much-needed storage, one office, and two larger conference rooms. The office and conference rooms will increase rental revenues for Chicago Literacy Alliance, the organization that runs the Literacenter.
IFF provided a $50,000 loan to Chicago Literacy Alliance to help with buying and installing furniture, fixtures, and equipment in its newly expanded space. Previously, IFF made a $350,000 loan for furniture and equipment.
“I’ve never had a financial business relationship before that was as warm and supportive as our relationship with IFF, with particular thanks to Vickie Lakes-Battle,” Chicago Literacy Alliance Executive Director Mike Ban said, referring to IFF’s director of lending for northern Illinois. “We’ve stayed in touch since our grand opening and now have our second IFF loan in place. We have moved into our additional space and are seeing our mission — increasing the combined impact of Chicago’s literacy organizations — being reinforced every day.”
The Literacenter — the country’s first shared workspace dedicated to literacy — opened last spring with 18 member organizations and today has over 90, including WITS and Open Books, which operates its award-winning bookstore on the first floor. The facility is being operated at full capacity with a waiting list for permanent space.