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Karcher Artspace Lofts

Looking Up in Downtown Waukegan

405 Washington Street, Waukegan, IL, 60085

Main Gallery

Live/work unit

Resident Artist Evan Ford

Basement Blues Jam


Grand Opening

Introducing the Artists of Karcher Artspace Lofts in Waukegan

Introducing the Artists of Karcher

Art Lives Here. Karcher Artspace Lofts in Downtown Waukegan

Art Lives Here

Ivy Ford at the Karcher Artspace Lofts.MP4

Tour with Ivy Ford



The City of Waukegan commands a strategic Lake Michigan site midway between Milwaukee and Chicago. Shipping and manufacturing were its economic lifeblood for decades, but now the city is reinventing itself in the post-industrial age and turning to the arts to help drive economic revitalization of its downtown area.

For Waukegan, an important step in the process was the renovation of the historic Karcher Hotel into a mixed-use arts facility. This nine-story building, located a block from City Hall, opened in 1928 as a 140-room hotel. But like most of downtown Waukegan, it fell on hard times. By the 1970s it had been turned into a senior citizens’ residence, and had stood vacant since 1984 when Artspace entered the scene.

Artspace has now renovated the Karcher at a cost of $14.6 million to create 36 units of affordable live/work space for artists and their families plus 2,811 square feet of ground-floor retail and community space for arts-friendly businesses and nonprofit organizations. Other amenities include a two-story gallery and community room, computer learning center and an outdoor patio. 

Development Cost

$14.6 million


4240 Architecture

Learn More
Karcher Overview (pdf, 78 KB)
Our Thanks to...

City of Waukegan llinois Housing Development Authority
JP Morgan Chase
Lake County
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc. 
Waukegan Park District

LEAD FUNDERS ($5,000+)
Abdula Family Foundation
First Bank of Highland Park
First Midwest Bank
Fred W. Losch Beverage Company
Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation
Henry Pfau Callahan Memorial Foundation
Beth Levine
William & Suzanne Lindsay
Midwest Generation
NorStates Bank
North Shore Gas
North Shore Trust and Savings
The Richard H. Driehaus FoundationThe McArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus FoundationWaukegan Park District
Waukegan Savings Bank
Dave & Sandi Whitmore

Artspace thanks the many individuals and local businesses that have supported this project.