The sign above the century-old building at 1545 W. Rosemont still reads fire department, having once belonged to Engine Company 70. But since 2008, the address has been a media production hub.
Its ground floor, where a fire truck once parked, is now Firehouse Studios' 22-by-60-foot video and photo studio as well as a rentable event venue run by its sister company, Firehouse Chicago. The editors of the video production company Plum Productions, whose clients include Visa, Mike's Hard Lemonade, and White Castle, work upstairs in what used to be the firefighters' sleeping quarters. The firehouse's old horse stable from the preautomobile days has been renovated into a kitchen.
Firehouse Studios' owner, Tim Plum, first heard about the building in '08, when Engine Company 70 was preparing to move to a $9.3 million, 16,000-square-foot firehouse at 6030 N. Clark. He was in the market for new office space, and 40th Ward alderman Patrick O'Connor was looking for a new use for the soon-to-be-empty firehouse.
"I initially approached Alderman O'Connor because there was an old police station on Foster Avenue. I thought it'd be really cool to have a production company in a police station and the editing suites in the jail cells. Then he told me about the firehouse," Plum says. "We drove by it that night, had a peek, and a formal tour with the firemen."
Without the steady stream of emergency calls and sirens, the firehouse has settled into a tranquil rhythm—except, of course, when someone takes a giddy slide down the fireman's pole.
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