The venue is set to be demolished.
A new petition has been shared, calling for The Warehouse to be preserved. The space used to be home to the renowned Chicago nightclub which saw Frankie Knuckles as its first musical director and marked the beginnings of house music.
Established in 1977, The Warehouse saw owner Robert Williams convert the three-story industrial building into a nightclub where the late DJ Frankie Knuckles played and pioneered the house music genre, which took its name from the venue. It became a cultural hub for the Black and Latino LGBTQ+ community in the city. Knuckles left in 1982 to set up his own venue Power Plant after which The Warehouse shut and was rebranded as Muzik Box with Ron Hardy as the resident DJ.
The building – located at 206 S. Jefferson Street in Chicago’s West Loop – was sold in December 2022, according to the Save The Warehouse! petition – which aims to get The City of Chicago to recognise the venue as a cultural landmark and protect the building. “Despite persistent outreach by Preservation Chicago, the new ownership has been unresponsive, and plans for the building’s future remain unknown,” the petition reads. The listing for the building noted its potential for demolition and new development, which has happened to similiar spaces in the area.
“House music changed the world. And it all began at the Warehouse, where DJ Frankie Knuckles created house music,” the petition from Preservation Chicago states. “Before it’s too late, we must urgently recognize, protect and celebrate the three-story industrial building at 206 S. Jefferson Street in Chicago’s West Loop. Despite its extraordinary role in music and cultural history, the Warehouse has ZERO protections against alterations or demolition.”
Read more on the petition and support here.