THREATENED: DePaul Plans to Demolish 80 Units of Student Housing in Five Historic Buildings to Build New Practice Gym

Ward Miller interviewed by Anthony Ponce from Fox 32 Chicago News regarding the debate over the demolition of 5 historic buildings for a proposed DePaul athletic building on September 20, 2023. Image credit: Fox 32 Chicago News
Four historic residential buildings on Sheffield Avenue threatened with demolished by DePaul for a new gym. 2308 N. Sheffield, 2310 N. Sheffield (Orange-Rated), 2314 N. Sheffield, 2316 N. Sheffield (Orange-Rated). Photo credit: Ward Miller
This 42-unit courtyard apartment building on Belden Avenue and four historical residential buildings on Sheffield Avenue will be demolished by DePaul for a new gym. 2300 N. Sheffield, 2308 N. Sheffield, 2310 N. Sheffield (Orange-Rated), 2314 N. Sheffield, 2316 N. Sheffield (Orange-Rated). Photo credit: Dennis Rodkin / Crain’s Chicago Business

DePaul University plans to build a new athletic complex, but if the school gets its way, it would come at the cost of some historical buildings in Lincoln Park. It would also take away 80 apartment units that are used for student housing.

‘The buildings that are at risk include four row houses that likely date back to the 1880s and 1890s as well as a 1920s courtyard apartment building. They are located in the 2300 block of North Sheffield.

“We really think it’s important to save these structures. They’re part of the streetscape. They’re part of the human scale. They’re part of what makes this area of Lincoln Park so beautiful, said Ward Miller, Executive Director of Preservation Chicago.

“Miller said the kind of intricate masonry and detailing featured on the old buildings is quickly disappearing in Lincoln Park, and he is fighting to save the buildings, which are all owned by DePaul.

“‘To lose these buildings would be very tragic,’ he said.

“The endangered buildings sit directly across from DePaul’s Sullivan Athletic Center. ‘This building was built, the Sullivan Athletic Center, in 2000, and we pretty much outgrew it the day we moved in,’ said Depaul Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy. Peevy said other than the men’s and women’s basketball teams, none of DePaul’s other 13 sports have dedicated locker rooms, which is just one factor that is making it tough to recruit top talent in the increasingly competitive Big East Conference.

“But Miller believes a win-win solution exists just a block north, where a very large parking lot sits, ripe for development.

“’In a city with a housing crisis, why are we displacing people in buildings and impacting our historic built environment when we have a surface parking lot a block away that could be a viable re-use site for the same idea?’ he said.” (Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 9/13/23)

“Miller said Preservation Chicago wants the university to consider other DePaul-owned sites for the expansion, like the surface parking lot at the intersection of Fullerton and Sheffield avenues or former Whole Foods building, which DePaul took over this year.

“‘We are supportive of DePaul’s growth and expansion and understand how important it is, but I do think there could be other ways of addressing the situation,’ Miller said. ‘I don’t know why DePaul wants to destroy the scale and part of the beauty and integrity of the neighborhood when there are other sites they could explore for this expansion.’ (Wittich, Block Club Chicago, 9/27/23

Watch and read the full story at FOX 32 Chicago


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