17. THREATENED: La Lucé Building/Schlitz Tied House Demolition Looms

La Lucé, the old-school Italian restaurant beside the ‘L’ at Lake, Ogden and Loomis is slated for demolition. This wonderful 1892 Queen Anne four-story building at 1393-1399 W. Lake Street includes a copper-clad three story turret and an ornate copper-clad projecting bay window.

This building was built by Edward J. Uihlein in 1892 as a Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company branded saloon and Tied-House. But, unlike most Schlitz Tied-Houses, this one included an apartment flat, perhaps in anticipation of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. While the architect is not listed on the permit, it was likely designed by the noteworthy architectural firm of Frommann & Jebsen, or Kley & Lang, as both firms designed buildings for Uihlein and the Schlitz Brewery operation in Chicago. This building should have been included as part of the Schlitz Tied-House Chicago Landmark District designated in 2011.

Concerns first emerged in summer 2016 when the restaurant was shuttered after 27 years in business. More recently, a “pre-demolition sale” was held to auction off antiques, historic fixtures, the La Lucé neon sign, and other restaurant artifacts.

The movement towards demolition has been slow, which has provided additional time for preservation advocacy. Both during and after the expiration of the 90-Day Demolition Delay, Preservation Chicago continued to do outreach to potential preservation-oriented buyers. Despite some initial interest from buyers, the sellers have not been inclined to consider offers.

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