Englewood drug house turned into cultural center

Take a walk down the 7000 block of South Perry Avenue, then stop in front of 7042. It’s not the same building it was four years ago.

Take a walk down the 7000 block of South Perry Avenue, then stop in front of 7042.

It’s not the same building it was four years ago. It was once a haven for drug dealers, and its customers before it were engulfed by fire in 2004.

Now the “undiscovered gem” is the four-story Perry Mansion Cultural Center.

The center’s founder and CEO Samuel Smith, a former resident of a public housing development on the West Side, owns property in Englewood and saw the vast potential the mini-mansion had, if it wasn’t overrun by drugs.

Smith, a media and real estate professional, just couldn’t “let it go to waste.”

He thought about rehabbing the property and renting it, but instead chose to restore the building and use it for community purposes. He used his own resources and contracting experience to restore the “eyesore” in the community, Smith said.

The 110-year-old building will house all genres of art, and feature local, national and international artists, as well as entertainers. It will also have educational programs about the arts that will engage youth during after-school hours.

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