The Temptation Chocolates Building was added to the 90-Day Demolition Delay list on December 1, 2017 requesting “removal of existing terra cotta cladding and replacement of windows.” After initial advocacy work, with the Alderman’s office, City officials and owner, by mutual agreement, extended the demolition permit an additional 90 days to June 8, 2018. The owner is Aberdeen Development and the specifics of the redevelopment plan remain unclear.
The Temptation Chocolates Building is listed in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey as an orange-rated. It is a six-story office and retail building with an outstanding white terra cotta façade and decorative neo-gothic ornamentation. The detailed cornice, historic sconces and the original Temptation Chocolates sign add delightful detail to the building at the street level.
Constructed in 1916, the building was designed by architect A.L. Himelblan. The Gallanis Brothers commissioned the structure at 1929 S. Halsted Street for a price of $120,000 to house their highly successful chocolate company. Their company that enjoyed a reputation for “purity, fine flavor and wholesome qualities” and which had “been shipping their chocolates to all parts of the country, besides supplying an immense local trade.” (National Corporation Reporter, page 212, 3/9/1916)
Located at the corner of Halsted Street and 19th Street in Pilsen, the Temptation Chocolates Building is one of the tallest and significantly contributes to the wonderful collection of historic buildings that makes this stretch of Halsted Street so visually compelling. It is in part because of these highly beautiful buildings that which has attracted creative tenants and institutions such as the Chicago Arts District, Chicago Museum of Art and Social Justice, Artspentry, Chicago Art Department, Renegade Craft Fair, Kym Abrams Design, True Productions, Studio Oh!, Art of Imagination, and many more.
Chicago was once the Candy Capital of the Nation. The strong connection to this important Chicago industry and the beautiful architecture make this building an outstanding candidate for a Chicago Landmark Designation. Additionally, this building is a significant contributing building to the wonderful collection of outstanding building located along Halsted Street and throughout Pilsen. Pilsen should be an urgent priority for protection by a Chicago Landmark District along 18th Street, and portions of Halsted Street and Ashland Avenue.
Preservation Chicago has been in communication with 11th Ward Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson and the City of Chicago Landmarks Division to advocate for a preservation-oriented solution for the Temptation Chocolates Building.
Preservation Chicago will strongly advocate to prevent the removal or destruction of this highly decorative terra cotta façade. A structural assessment of the building’s terra cotta is pending. The owner, Aberdeen Development, has a focus on the conversion of industrial buildings and interest in unique historic elements that provide character and authenticity, so there cautious optimism for a good outcome.