WIN: Superior Street Rowhouses Protected by Landmark District One Day Prior to Release of Demolition Permit!

On the final day before the expiration of the second 90-Day Demolition Delay hold, the Superior Street Rowhouses were saved from demolition by the preliminary designation of the McCormickville Chicago Landmark District, now formally referred to as the “Near North Side Multiple Property District.” Without the protection of this Landmark District, the City of Chicago would have been obliged to release the demolition permit the following day for 42, 44 and 46 E. Superior Street. And even though there is no approved plan for the site, the developer likely would have wasted no time in clearing it.

The timing of the preliminary designation of the Near North Side Multiple Property District is fortunate and is the culmination of years of advocacy by Preservation Chicago. The current district is comprised of a total of 16 historic residential properties on Superior, Ontario, Rush, Huron, Erie, Dearborn and Grand. These represent some of the remaining survivors from the once extensive post-fire residential district. The endangered status of other buildings now protected by the Preliminary Designation was confirmed during the Commission of Chicago Landmarks testimony on March 7, 2019, when owners of three different buildings protested the inclusion of their historic buildings in the Preliminary Landmark District as this status would prevent them from moving forward with plans to demolish their respective buildings. A lengthy process is now underway to finalize this Landmark District and no demolitions of these structures can take place during this period.

The Near North Side Multiple Property Landmark District includes the following structures:

  • 642 North Dearborn Street
  • 14 West Erie Street
  • 17 East Erie Street
  • 110 West Grand Avenue
  • 1 East Huron Street
  • 9 East Huron Street
  • 10 East Huron Street
  • 16 West Ontario Street
  • 18 West Ontario Street
  • 212 East Ontario Street
  • 222 East Ontario Street
  • 716 North Rush Street
  • 671 North State Street
  • 42 East Superior Street
  • 44 East Superior Street
  • 46 East Superior Street

Preservation Chicago was deeply engaged in the advocacy effort to save the Superior Street Rowhouses at 42, 44 and 46 E. Superior Street and proactively worked on the ground with neighborhood organizations and other stakeholders to generate support for the Landmark District. When during the Commission on Chicago Landmarks hearing the Chairman asked the position of the public, we were able to present our petition with over 5,000 signatures on 231 pages and an additional 20 pages of comments in support. Additionally, Preservation Chicago researchers worked long hours to discover and assemble as much historic material as possible about these structures and other similar surviving buildings in the neighborhood.

Preservation Chicago wishes to recognize and applaud the leadership of 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and the professionalism and efficiency of his office and staff. Additionally, Preservation Chicago wishes to recognize and thank The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Chicago Department of Planning and Development Historic Preservation Staff, Landmark Illinois, and all of the community members who contributed to the protection of these architecturally significant Chicago buildings.

“Walking past these structures, one experiences both the history and story of the neighborhood over time, and a sense of place. They have a beautiful human scale to them, a sense of charm, and have always made the community more livable, with their fine craftsmanship and green spaces,” said Preservation Chicago Executive Director Ward Miller. (Von Buhl, Loop North News, 10/24/18)

“These are all really wonderful buildings and they could make part of a landmark district,” said Miller. “This is ‘McCormickville’. This is where the McCormick family lived before and after the Great Chicago Fire. And with the continued demolition of other shorter, older buildings in the area, there are only a handful of the original McCormickville buildings left. We need to value every inch of space where there are historic buildings that tell the story of the neighborhood.” (Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago, 12/8/16)

“These buildings also provide unique opportunities for small businesses and provide ‘an envelope’ for all sorts of creative things to happen from within these historic structures. They really do encourage unique small businesses, and add a livability quality to the community. At one time, there were many such small elegant restaurants and shops housed in these types of buildings from the Chicago River to Oak Street. As a matter of fact, it was often these beautifully crafted buildings that initially gave Oak Street its unusual character and success. Some of those buildings still exist, but they are becoming more and more rare. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever!” Miller said. (Vol Buhl, Skyline)

Preservation Chicago strongly opposed the demolition of the three, architecturally significant, orange-rated 42, 44 and 46 East Superior Street Rowhouses dating from the 1870s and 1880s. The adjacent seven-story Art Deco limestone building and historic four-story red brick Giordano’s building are also endangered. The three 1880s-era rowhouses at 42 E. Superior Street (Dr. Herrick Johnson House), 44 E. Superior Street and 46 E. Superior Street (Hennessey Houses) were added to the 90-Day Demolition Delay List on September 12, 2018. 42 E. Superior Street has been the long-time home to Sunny Side Up Brunch and Coffee Shop.

Additional Reading
Join over 5,000 supporters and Sign the Petition to Save These Victorian Rowhouses from Demolition!

New landmark district would preserve downtown’s dwindling historic architecture, The move would protect 16 post-fire structures on Chicago’s Near North Side, Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago, 3/4/19

Chicago Fire-Era Mansions In River North Saved Again From Demolition — For Now: Preservationists hope to include the buildings in a proposed Near North Side historic district, Linze Rice, Block Club Chicago, 3/11/19

Alderman moves to downzone River North site; Ald. Brendan Reilly yesterday moved to reduce the zoning allowance at 42 and 44-46 E. Superior St., hamstringing a development group, Danny Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 11/1/18

Can preservationists save these River North buildings? A New York developer wants to raze two buildings at 42 and 44-46 E. Superior St., where it planned a 60-story condo-hotel tower—until it was rejected by Ald. Brendan Reilly., Alby Gallun, Crain’s Chicago Business, 10/10/18

19th century Superior Street row houses threatened with demolition, Peter von Buol, Loop North News, 10/24/18

Developer Behind Failed High-Rise Plan Moves To Tear Down Historic Row Houses Near Mag Mile… Again; The row houses “add a distinct character, quality, craftsmanship, history and elegance to the community,” preservationists say, Taylor Moore, Block Club Chicago, 10/30/18


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