THREATENED: Two Redevelopment Proposals Have Fallen Through for St. Paul’s Church in Wicker Park

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“A 19th-century church building on North Avenue where two proposed residential conversions have failed in recent years is back on the market, at $2.4 million.

“The question for any potential buyer will be how many residential units will get the neighborhood’s blessing—or how few. In 2017, a developer’s plan to turn the former St. Paul’s Church into 28 apartments failed to get neighborhood support. In 2019, a different developer’s plan for 19 units did not move forward either.

“Under its current zoning classification, B-32, the roughly 8,100 square feet of land St Paul’s stands on would be allowed to have eight units of about 1,000 square feet each. The building itself is about 16,500 square feet, which would likely allow a redeveloper to get more than eight units approved.

“‘What we’re hearing is that based on (purchase) and rehab costs, it would be difficult to make anything work with under about 19 units,’ said Nicholas Zettel, who works on zoning issues for Ald. Daniel La Spata, 1st, in whose ward the building stands. Zettel said no proposals have been brought to the ward office since the 19-unit project’s developers backed out last year.

“The current condition of the church’s interior would not allow a new user to move right in without updates, Zettel said. “It’s in some kind of a state,” Zettel said. “It will have to be a rehab project if you want to preserve the exterior.”

“Demolition approval would be difficult to obtain because the building is in the Wicker Park Historic District, designated by the city in 1991.” (Rodkin, 7/8/20)

“Like many prominent churches in the surrounding communities, St. Paul’s has an important legacy and appears on the Chicago Historic Resources Survey for being architecturally significant. Designed by the architect G. Isaacson in 1890, the study church features a muscular Romanesque appearance and steeples that stagger in height. According to archived construction news clippings, the estimated cost to build the church was $30,000 in 1890.” (AJ LaTrace, Curbed Chicago, 7/20/17)

Read the full story at Crain’s Chicago Business

Historic Wicker Park church seeks 3rd chance to be reborn as residential; After two previous residential conversions failed to move forward, a key question for any potential buyer will be how many units—or how few—neighborhood groups will support putting in the 19th-century building, Dennis Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 7/8/20

Another old church getting the apartment treatment; A developer has revealed intentions to convert Wicker Park’s St. Paul’s Church into new rentals, AJ LaTrace, Curbed Chicago, 7/20/17

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