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History of the Building

1915: Victor Gasket Manufacturing builds their headquarters in the Central Manufacturing District.

Built in 1915, as a headquarters and manufacturing plant for Victor Gasket, the site is located in the the Central Manufacturing District (CMD), the oldest industrial park in the country. The CMD straddles the South Branch of the Chicago River in the Bridgeport/McKinley Park neighborhoods. In earlier years, the CMD was host to many names linked to Chicago’s history - names like Armour, Spiegel, Sears, Swift, among others.

1947: Spiegel purchases the building and adds air conditioning.
In 1947, Spiegel purchased the building to supplement their cluster of buildings located nearby on 35th Street.  Spiegel added air conditioning to the 8,000 sq. ft. office area in section 1A.

1963: Illinois Insulation and Construction purchases building as distribution center.
The building was purchased, in 1963, as a new distribution center for Illinois Insulation and Construction after fire destroyed their headquarters on the far South Side.

1981: Price Family purchases building to operate as headquarters for Price Family businesses.
The building was purchased, in 1981, by the Price Family and served as a fabrication and distribution facility, and headquarters for the Price Family businesses until 1998.

1998: Bay Industries purchases the insulation businesses and rents space in building to continue operations.
The operating businesses were sold to Bay Industries of Green Bay, WI, who continued to rent a portion of the space under a five-year agreement as the Prices searched for ways to repurpose the spaces.

2003-2007: Iron Studios Era - An Experiment in Artist Lofts.
The Prices moved into a “Watchman’s Residence” on the 5th floor of the building and began to renovate the warehouse into lofts, under the name of “Iron Studios,” with the goal of providing exhibition space and arts-based rental spaces to fill the gap created by the gentrification of arts-based communities on the Northside of Chicago. During the Iron Studios experiment, the building hosted a diverse group of tenants, including the Chicago Blues Musuem and all of its artifacts, many small hip hop producers (Lupe Fiasco’s first hit, Kick Push, produced by Chris Adams, IMPAKT STUDIOS), web designers, photography studios, cabinet makers, as well as other entrepreneurial businesses.

Also during the Iron Studios era, the building hosted a number of exhibitions, including the Chicago Artists Coalition Exhibition(2007), Version Fest (2007), the Renaissance Society Annual Fundraiser, (2007), PEEP SHOW, and the Chicago Swing Dancers. These exhibitions took place in the second floor exhibition area, originally slated to be home of the Zhou Brothers Foundation. During the short term that Iron Studios existed, it achieved critical acclaim for bringing something different to the near South Side. However, due to the economic changes and restructuring taking place in the audio production and arts based markets, Iron Studios had proven to be worthwhile but unsustainable enterprise for its owners. 

2007-Present: GEOLOFTS
After being contacted by a large ISP about the possibility of locating a data center in the building, the owners decided to pursue this growing need for data storage.  With 35 years background in energy conservation and a renewed interest in geothermal heating and cooling, the Prices began to research the feasibility of cooling a data center through the use of geothermal energy.  The addition of specialty insulation systems and the latest technology in fire suppression systems  would help to provide affordable, competitive data storage space.

After comparing their proposed cost for the geothermal system with previous quotations for updating the building's steam heating and air conditioning system, GEOLOFTS was born!

In Phase 1, the ground beneath the existing parking lot will be used to generate over 400 tons of heating and cooling supplying approximately double the capacity of air conditioning needed to climatize the building.

In Phase 2,  the data center will become a reality with 10,000 sq. ft. of modern, free-span space added above the C Section of the 5th Floor.  The data center will provide enough space for 300 server racks. The heat recovered from the servers will    supplement the 400 tons supplied by the wells. Any surplus from the GEOLOFTS energy field could be used by adjacent buildings and/or new facilities at the GEOLOFTS site.