10. WIN: Agudas Achim Uptown Synagogue Adaptive Reuse Underway (Chicago 7 2015)

The long vacant Agudas Achim Synagogue building exterior will be preserved and will be converted to residential use by Cedar Street Companies. A Chicago 7 in 2015, it had been a prime teardown candidate due to years of deferred maintenance, extensive water damage and vandalism. Located at 5029 N. Kenmore Avenue, the building had been threatened with numerous demolition proposals dating back to 2008.

Built in 1922 and designed by Dubin & Eisenberg, Agudas Achim has been described as “the last grand Chicago synagogue” and was able to accommodate 2,200 worshipers. The dramatic sanctuary with its extensive stained glass, mosaic ark, decorative plaster work and grand marble staircase remain impressive even in its current deteriorated condition.

Preservation Chicago worked extensively to match a preservation-sensitive developer with the building and applauds Cedar Street Companies for undertaking this redevelopment project. The building’s exterior façade is being considered by the developer for Chicago Landmark designation. The grand foyer and flanking staircase will be preserved and many of the significant features will be salvaged, including most of the art glass windows and the jeweled mosaic ark which will be donated to other synagogues.

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