Saint Elizabeth Parish looking into possibility of buying former Produce Center; parish gets to keep proceeds from sale of Saint Thecla and Saint Cornelius, whose school, rectory, convent near Foster-Long being sold to CPS
by BRIAN NADIG
The Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish is looking into purchasing the former Produce.Center site at 5820 N. Milwaukee Ave., but in the meantime is leasing the site’s parking lot, which also is being used by a COVID-19 drive-through testing facility.
In the Dec. 5 church bulletin, Pastor Mike Grisolano wrote, “By the time you read this we should have signed the month-to-month lease for partial use of the Produce Center parking lot. We will have full access to the 24 spots to the north (closest to Moody) 24/7 but will only have a right to use the spots closest to the Produce Center after 6:00 p.m. when the Covid testing company leaves.”
He adds, “As you can see the owners of that property put up a fence on most of the alley side, but there is an opening for foot traffic to get to the church, gym and school. Please only use Milwaukee Avenue when entering/exiting the parking lot by vehicle.”
Grisolano also wrote that the Archdiocesan real estate office and a local broker are working with the parish to help negotiate a fair deal for the property, which is next to the parish campus.
“You can be assured that both the Parish and Finance Councils will have input and real say about what that property would ultimately be worth to us. We agreed to the short-term parking lease to help satisfy our needs until our own parking lot gets the city permit and is completed,” Grisolano said in the bulletin.
The parish had the former Saint Tarcissus convent at 6035 W. Ardmore Ave. demolished in order to replace it with a parking lot, but construction of the lot is not done. Saint Elizabeth consists of the former Saint Tarcissus, Saint Cornelius and Saint Thecla parishes.
When the archdiocese decided to close the Saint Thecla and Saint Cornelius campuses, parish officials said that there likely will be a need for more parking at the Saint Tarcissus campus, where Saint Elizabeth is operating.
The Saint Cornelius food pantry recently was moved to the basement of the gym on the Saint Elizabeth grounds, and one parishioner said that there has been speculation that the pantry could eventually be housed in the former grocery store.
Also on the same block as the former Produce Center, a restaurant site at 5800 N. Milwaukee Ave., where Phil’s Pizza D’Oro continues to operate, is for sale. Between the pizzeria and former produce market is the site of the planned Zymi Bakery at 5806 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The Produced Center closed in late 2019 after nearly 25 years in business.
The Saint Elizabeth parish gets to keep the proceeds from the sale of the former campuses of Saint Thecla, whose school has been sold to the Philadelphia Romanian Church of God, and Saint Cornelius, whose school, rectory and convent are being sold for about $3.3 million to the Chicago Public Schools for a planned early education center.