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

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
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
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

“To make way for its recently announced basketball practice facility, DePaul University will tear down five historical buildings in its Lincoln Park neighborhood.

“The practice facility, to be built on the northwest corner of Sheffield and Belden avenues, is part of a $60 million athletics project that the university announced Aug. 31. The project also entails updating an existing sports facility on the other side of Sheffield, the Sullivan Athletic Center, which contains the 3,000-seat McGrath-Phillips Arena.

“Demolition of the historical buildings — two greystones, two red brick multi-flat buildings on Sheffield Avenue and a red brick courtyard apartment building on Belden Avenue — are scheduled to begin in mid-2025, as part of the project’s second phase. The demolitions will eliminate 80 student beds, according to Peter Coffey, the university’s associate vice president for community and government relations. (42 units in the courtyard building and 38 units in the smaller buildings)

“Preservationists are decrying the planned demolitions of historical buildings.

“If they’re demolished, “we lose the character of the community, the historical street wall,” said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago. No construction dates for the five buildings are clear in public records. The four on Sheffield Avenue appear to be from the late 1800s or early 1900s, and are decorated with carved stone pillars and detailed cornices. The courtyard building on Belden Avenue, evidently built a couple of decades later, has handsome brick arches and terra cotta plaques.

“As a replacement, “what we’ll get is another really bland building that resembles a parking lot and an office building,” Miller said, referring to the Sullivan Athletic Center.

“Miller said he’d prefer to see the university build the new facility about a block north, at Fullerton and Sheffield avenues, where it now has a surface parking lot a little larger than the footprint of the five buildings it plans to demolish.” (Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 9/13/23)

Read the full story at Crain’s Chicago Business

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