“We oppose the demolition of a beautiful, 150-year-old, multi-unit building and the permanent displacement of its tenants so that a neighbor can have a larger side yard.
“The wood-frame three-unit building with graceful porches and delicate details at 2240 N. Burling in Chicago’s Lincoln Park has been home to generations of Chicagoans for literally 150 years. But despite recent renovations and a strong rental market, a neighbor purchased it for over a million dollars with plans to demolish it and enlarge his adjacent single-family home’s side yard.
“2240 N. Burling Street is one of the last remaining survivors of the Chicago Fire era. Only a handful remain today of what was once an entire neighborhood of these beautiful buildings. Just two blocks beyond the flames of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, it was built in circa 1874 when Chicago was trying to recover from the destruction. Its delicate detailing reveals an unshaken optimism for the future despite the overwhelming difficulties of the time. And its three large, family-sized apartments reveal a utilitarian urgency to provide high-quality housing to the 300,000 Chicagoans who lost their homes.
“Time is short to save it. The 90-Day Demolition Delay clock is ticking and will expire unless it appears on the February 9, 2023 Commission on Chicago Landmarks meeting.
“Chicago must act now to stop the loss of these three units and hundreds of residential units every month. The vibrancy of our neighborhoods, public schools, and commercial corridors depends on it.
“Suburban-scaled, single-family mega-houses and mega-yards spanning five lots and which displace a dozen or more working- and middle-class families after their legacy rental buildings are demolished should not be tolerated in the City of Chicago.
Despite Chicago’s affordable housing shortage, this pattern is happening again and again. Proactive steps must be taken to stop this trend from accelerating.
“We call on the 43rd Ward Alderman and City of Chicago to take a strong stand and proactive steps against the demolition of Naturally-Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) in historic neighborhoods. This is a difficult and complicated issue and a long-term solution will require dedication, leadership and time.
“In the short-term, we call on the 43rd Ward Alderman and City of Chicago to take a strong stand and proactive steps against the demolition of 2240 N. Burling Street and the few remaining Chicago Fire era buildings in Lincoln Park, before the expiration of the Demolition Delay on February 15, 2023, including a possible Chicago Landmark Designation.
“On November 18, 2022, the current owner applied for a demolition permit for 2240 N. Burling Street. Its status as an Orange-Rated building due to architectural significance in Chicago Historic Resources Survey, requires a mandatory 90-Day Demolition Delay. Unless it’s designated a Chicago Landmark, which protects against demolition, or the owner has a change of heart, the demolition permit will be issued on February 15, 2023 when the delay expires and this three-flat will be lost forever.
“Every year, Chicago demolishes 2,000 to 3,000 residential units. Saving the four residential units at 2240 N. Burling Street is the first step towards structural change to stem the loss of Naturally-Occurring Affordable Housing in historic neighborhoods.