“Edgewater neighbors and preservationists are trying to halt Howard Brown Health’s planned demolition of a 100-year-old former auto garage on Broadway, asking the health group to reuse the historical building in its future plans for the site.
“Howard Brown last week received a demolition permit for the building at 5650-56 N. Broadway, a 1911 building that sits on Edgewater’s former motor row. The LGBTQ-focused health group bought the building in April from the Bob Loquercio Auto Group, property records show, but Howard Brown has yet to make public its plans for the site.
“With no plans announced, preservationists hope they can — at least temporarily — prevent the building’s demolition. They have made renderings for how the building at the corner of Hollywood Avenue and Broadway can be reused in a development.
“Known as the McNitt building, the garage at 5654 N. Broadway was built in the Arts and Crafts style in 1911 as a parking garage with second-floor apartments. Back then, parking your car or your carriage on the street was not allowed, Remer said. Wealthy neighbors like lawyer Willard McNitt had garages built to park their cars.
“With glazed brick and ornate, arched brackets, the McNitt building is one of many auto garages turned car dealerships along Broadway in what was known as Edgewater’s motor row. In an inventory of historical buildings on Broadway conducted by the Edgewater Historical Society in 2019, at least nine auto garages or dealership buildings were considered significant. The building at 5654 N. Broadway does not have any historical designation from the city.
“‘It’s an iconic neighborhood building that so many people pass exiting Lake Shore Drive,’ said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago. ‘It’s a visual landmark to so many.’
“Preservationists said there are compromises that can meet Howard Brown’s needs while saving what they consider an important building in Edgewater. Retired architect Thom Greene drafted a mock-up of a development that includes the two-story structure . Building around the existing structure keeps the setback at the corner at Hollywood and Broadway, which is the gateway into Edgewater from DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
The building may be in poor condition, and holes are visible in its roof. If the building can’t be saved, there are ways to preserve its facade, or historical pieces of the property to be used in a new building, Remer and Miller said. ‘They really should be embracing these buildings and the importance they have to the community,’ Miller said. (Ward, Block Club Chicago, 11/8/21)
Howard Brown Health Demolishes 100-Year-Old Building On Edgewater’s Motor Row, Angering Preservationists; Howard Brown Health bought the former garage at 5650-56 N. Broadway in April and received a demolition permit last week. It has not publicly announced plans for the site, Joe Ward, Block Club Chicago, 11/8/21
Howard Brown Demolishes 100-Year-Old Auto Garage In Edgewater As Health Center Plots Local Expansion; Howard Brown Health said it is planning a building project at Hollywood Avenue and Broadway but final details have yet to take form, Joe Ward, Block Club Chicago, 11/11/21