26 years after St. Boniface Church held its last mass, and after 16 long years of relentless preservation advocacy, and a last minute sale before demolition; Preservation Chicago is thrilled that the St. Boniface adaptive reuse is moving forward. The adaptive reuse project received Chicago City Council approval in August 2018. The historic church will be adaptively reused by Michael Skoulsky of Stas Development with Space Architects + Planners.
The Romanesque church was designed by architect Henry Schlacks in 1902 and is located at 1348 W. Chestnut Street. First nominated as a Chicago 7 Most Endangered Building in 2003, preservation advocacy efforts were sustained for over a decade until Friday, September 23, 2017, when with demolition scheduled for the following Monday morning and moments before the hard deadline of Friday at 5 p.m., the building was sold to Stas Development for a preservation-sensitive adaptive reuse.
The road to St. Boniface’s preservation has been long, complex, and difficult. Despite that the prospects for success seemed remote at times, Preservation Chicago never lost hope and never stopped advocating for a preservation-oriented outcome. Preservation Chicago’s leadership role was pivotal, but many preservation partners worked tirelessly to support St. Boniface. Preservation Chicago wishes to recognize and celebrate Michael Skoulsky of Stas Development. David Ruttenberg of Marc Realty Capital, Skoulsky’s equity partner in the project; and Northwestern Settlement House. The courageous leadership of Eleanor Gorski and Dijana Cuvalo, City of Chicago Landmarks Division and Lisa Misher, City of Chicago Senior Counsel, was instrumental to this process. Persistent advocacy from Lisa DiChiera at Landmarks Illinois and the continued interest of local press kept the fight for St. Boniface in the public spotlight. Neighborhood organizations including Neighbors of St. Boniface led by the Kevin Stawiarski, East Village Association’s Bob Zwolinski Scott Rappe, and Gladys Anselmo, along with Preservation Chicago Board President Brad Suster never faltered. Neighbors of St. Boniface were key to the effort’s success, including Claudia Sainsot, Jon Kulpit, Kathy Thalmann, Jim Boccarossa, and architect Mike Vasilko. Elaine Coorens, editor of “Our Urban Times” and Alisa Hauser formerly of “DNAinfo Chicago/Block Club Chicago” have been dedicated to covering this story for years.
St. Boniface Church Is Resurrected as a New Condo Development, AJ LaTrace, Chicago Magazine, 3/20/18
Condo conversion for Noble Square’s St. Boniface Church moves forward, Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago March 30, 2018
St. Boniface celebration drew 800, Elaine Coorens, Our Urban Times, 10/21/16
Graffiti-Marred St. Boniface Altar Cleaned Before Block Party, Alisa Hauser, DNAinfo Chicago, 10/17/16
St. Boniface Church Sold, Saved From Wrecking Ball, Alisa Hauser, DNAinfo Chicago 9/23/16
St. Boniface saved: Michael Skoulsky’s Stas Development ends 17-year
St. Boniface Church Debt Snapped Up By Developer Eager to Raze, Sources
Boarded-up St. Boniface faces uncertain future amid dispute over control, Blair Kamin