LOSS: Terra Cotta Facade at 1315 W. Loyola Avenue Demolished

1315 W. Loyola Avenue. Photo Credit: SVN
1315 W. Loyola Avenue Ornament After Facade Demolition. Photo Credit: Ald. Hadden’s Ward Office
Original 1315 W. Loyola Avenue Rendering which preserved the terra cotta facade. Rendering Credit: Gold Development

The lovely terracotta building facade located at 1315 W. Loyola Avenue has been demolished.

Initial renderings showed the one-story façade being saved, restored and incorporated in the new construction multi-family residential plan. The proposed six-story building was beyond what current zoning allowed, so the developer, Gold Development, requested an upzoning to allow additional units and fewer parking spaces. However, the neighbors did not support his request. So the developer went ahead with the project within the existing zoning and chose to demolish the historic façade.

Preservation Chicago learned of change in plans only when the demolition was underway. Curiously, 49th Alderman Maria Madden’s reported that “Gold Construction is working closely with Preservation Chicago.” In fact, we’ve had zero contact with either the developer or the Alderman’s office on this building.

We strongly believe that highly decorative, intact terra cotta facades such as at 1315 W. Loyola Avenue should be saved and incorporated into new construction. Regardless of the new construction above, the first floor facade is essential to maintain the human-scale and historic streetscape.

Its unfortunate that this façade, a 100 year old asset to the City of Chicago, should be a bargaining chip for developers to increase their zoning and increase their profits. Preservation of a low-rise façade should be required as part of the building permit.

Additionally, architectural fragment salvage is absolutely not an alternative to saving, protecting and restoring historic buildings in place and is only acceptable in circumstances where every preservation option has been explored and exhausted.

Additional Reading
The Crawlspace Of Ald. Maria Hadden’s Ward Office Has Become A Preservation Haven; Rogers Park residents are encouraged to stop by the ward office for terracotta pieces and purple bricks from The Heartland Café. Jonathan Ballew, Block Club Chicago, 8/21/19

Six-story TOD proposal in Rogers Park would reuse historic terra-cotta storefront; The project slated for 1315 W. Loyola Avenue will be discussed at an upcoming community meeting

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