Harper & 53rd Launder Koin, the last laundromat in Hyde Park, is closing for good on Tuesday.
The property, located at 5230 S. Harper Ave., is being purchased by the University of Chicago. According to co-owner Josh Hwang, Launder Koin’s last day in operation is technically Feb. 28, but “residents should try and get their laundry done before Feb. 26.”
The laundromat has been operating off 53rd Street since 2002, predating large nearby developments like Harper Court. Back then, Hwang was only 13 years old and working at the business for his parents.
Now 34 years old, Hwang said, “we’ve seen families grow. We’ve seen a lot of the working class people have children, and they’re now grown.”
“We’ve seen people come, we’ve seen people go, we’ve seen the neighborhood change,” he added.
Though demand for laundromats has dwindled nationwide in the last decade, Hwang said Launder Koin still services between 500 to 1,200 people a month.
In a statement from the U. of C.’s Office of Civic Engagement, communications director Christina Angarola said that Launder Koin approached the university to purchase the property earlier this year.
“As part of these purchase talks, and in recognition of the value that Launder Koin has offered to the Hyde Park community over many years, the Commercial Real Estate Operations team offered Launder Koin a lease at the same rate that the business paid previously,” Angarola said. “The business owners declined to enter into a new lease.”
The university will seek a new tenant for the property after the sale closes, she added.
With Launder Koin's closing, the nearest laundromat for Hyde Parkers is in Kenwood at Your Neighborhood Laundromat, 1400 E. 47th St.
I'm sure this laundry service will be missed in the neighborhood. I don't use laundry mats anymore, but, I can remember washing my newborn's clothes at that location in 1969. Perhaps the laundry was under a different owner at that time, but, it looks pretty much the same. Good luck to the family in the future!
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