WIN: Werner Brothers Storage Building to be Incorporated Into New Development, Not Demolished (Chicago 7 2023)

Werner Brothers Storage Building, a 2023 Chicago 7 Most Endangered. 1921, George S. Kingsley, 7613 N. Paulina Street. Photo credit: Serhii Chrucky
Werner Brothers Storage Building, a 2023 Chicago 7 Most Endangered. 1921, George S. Kingsley, 7613 N. Paulina Street. Photo credit: Serhii Chrucky

“An affordable housing developer wants to bring more than 100 units of ‘workforce housing’ to Howard Street, a project it says will help transform an area that has struggled with issues of public safety and disinvestment.

“Housing For All unveiled its proposed development for the northeast corner of Howard and Paulina streets at a community meeting Wednesday. The project is across the street from the Howard Red Line station in Rogers Park.

“The two-phase project would replace a single-story retail building and reuse a historical storage facility to create 104 apartments and commercial space. The work would start with a six-story apartment building with 52 apartments and more than 4,000 square feet of retail storefronts.

“Housing For All’s project would take place in two phases, with the first phase including the redevelopment of the corner retail building at Howard and Paulina streets.

“The building would make way for a six-story complex that would have 52 apartments, including seven studios, 11 one-bedrooms, 21 two-bedrooms and 13 three-bedrooms. The developers want transit-oriented development status for the project due to its proximity to the Red Line, and they plan to provide eight parking spaces.

“The second phase of the project would add 52 affordable apartments and include the redevelopment of the Werner Brothers Storage building, 7613 N. Paulina St.

“Original plans called for the razing of the historical building — which is on the list of most endangered Chicago buildings. Housing For All representatives said they now plan to reuse the building and turn it into 20 apartments.

“Housing For All’s project requires the city’s approval for a “planned development,” which has not yet been granted. The development also hinges on the issues of state housing tax credits that form the basis of the project’s financing, Housing For All said.” (Ward, Block Club Chicago, 4/28/23)

We applaud developer Shelly Tucciarelli of Housing For All for reconsidering the adaptive reuse of the Werner Brothers Storage Building. Additionally, we applaud 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden and community members who strongly advocated for a preservation sensitive alternative for this development.

Affordability and preservation are strongly symbiotic and mutually beneficial. We consider Werner Brothers Storage Building to be an ideal candidate for affordable housing adaptive reuse. Historic preservation is highly compatible with affordable housing and we strongly encourage the reuse and incorporation of this beautiful historic structure, particularly its terra cotta cladding, into the new construction.

Preservation Chicago believes that affordable housing and transit-oriented development are necessary components of healthy communities. Through collaboration between the local community, developers, and preservationists, we are confident that both goals of providing affordable housing and retaining historic architecture can be met, resulting in an even more successful and dynamic project and more vibrant communities.

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