Old church, home face demolition
by BRIAN NADIG
Two nearly 100-year-old buildings in Old Irving Park are going to be demolished to make way for housing developments.
Several single-family homes are planned for the site of Iglesia de Cristo at 4300 N. Kedvale Ave., according to a spokesman for Alderman Samantha Nugent (39th).
The project’s developer is in the process of obtaining a permit to demolish the church and plans to build the homes under the site’s existing RT-4 zoning, the spokesman said.
The property reportedly was purchased in June for about $1.1 million.
Details of the project were unavailable by press time, but the spokesman said that the developer has agreed to discuss the project with representatives of the Old Irving Park Association.
Preservation Chicago executive director Ward Miller said that the planned demolition of the church demonstrates the need for better laws in Chicago to help slow down the demolition process for older buildings.
"We aren’t anti-development, (but) there’s no reason why these buildings can’t be repurposed for multiple apartments, condos … or even rowhouses," Miller said. He added that the brick church is a "bit of a showstopper" and "really a fine building."
Also having a date with the wrecking ball is a multi-family home at 4242 N. Kedvale Ave., where it will be replaced with a new eight-flat. Last week Preservation Chicago tweeted concerns about the planned teardown.
The home features a decorative front porch and other ornate features and has a Prairie/Craftsman architectural design.
It is believed it was originally built as a single-family residence, but the demolition permit application lists it as a multi-unit structure.
A permit to construct the three-story apartment building on the 8,700-square-foot site was issued on June 23, while the demolition permit of the brick home is pending, according the city Department of Buildings. The eight-flat will include a rear metal open deck.
Miller said that Chicago should follow the lead of other municipalities and place an automatic hold on permit applications seeking to demolish any building 50 years or older. The local alderman, a community group and the city Department of Planning could use this time to discuss preservation options when appropriate with the developer, he said.
The city’s existing demolition delay process was developed 25 years ago and leaves out many noteworthy structures, Miller said.
The home is on the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, which includes about 17,000 properties, about a quarter of which are city landmarks. The survey was geared toward identifying existing and potential landmarks, but the home did not meet the city’s existing demolition delay standards, which do not apply to all buildings listed in the survey.