The historic Seng Building located at 1450 N. Dayton Street, along with an adjacent two-story building, will be demolished to make way for a new vertical retail building. The adjacent building was once possibly linked to the nearby Euston & Company Linseed Oil Plant and the Chicago Linoleum Plant which were designed by Adler and Sullivan and are not protected by Landmark Designation. The circa 1910 Prairie School industrial building was home to Chicago-based furniture manufacturer The Seng Company. The historic industrial Clybourn Corridor continues to lose its more of its vintage buildings and its character.
The Seng Building is listed as orange-rated on the Chicago Historic Resources Survey (CHRS). Due the significant historic value orange-rated buildings, the designation requires a 90-Day Demolition Delay to provide an opportunity for alternate plans to emerge that might protect the historic building from demolition. This building was not on the Chicago Commission on Landmarks August 3rd agenda where its historic merits, public testimony, and potential alternative plans, including adaptive reuse or incorporating the historic façade into the new construction plans, could have been considered.
The demolition permit was received on Friday, August 4th, the day following the Chicago Commission on Landmarks public meeting. The demolition permit was released four business days later on Thursday August 10th.
“We’re saddened that we never had the chance to really explore the history of this building,” said Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago. “Orange-rated buildings are supposed to have a 90-day hold for this reason. Expediting the demolition of historic buildings really defeats the purpose of having the Chicago Historic Resources Survey,” (LaTrace, 8/14/17)
Preservation Chicago urges the City’s Department of Planning and Development/Historic Preservation Division and staff to allow the 90-Day Demolition Delay for orange-rated structures to be implemented according to the ordinance and full 90-Day Demolition Delay allowed to run its course.
There are many examples where the demolition delay process worked as designed and the process resulted in better outcomes for all parties including the historic building, the developer, the community and the City of Chicago. Early release of demolition permits for significant orange-rated buildings should be rare and reserved for instances where there is a clear health and safety risk which can only be resolved by an emergency demolition.