The focused advocacy effort by neighborhood preservation partner Logan Square Preservation and Preservation Chicago (including a petition drive which received approximately 600 signatures) resulted in the partial preservation of the three-story Weyland Building at 1970 N. Milwaukee Avenue by architect John Ahlschlager (well known for the Logan Theatre and Schulze Bakery). The façade’s beautifully-crafted decorative classical limestone ornament and bronze cornice will be integrated into a much larger residential development on the adjacent parcel.
Despite the agreement that preserved the historic Weyland Building facade in place, the façade was dismantled due concerns about the structural integrity. The developer Clayco amended its agreement with the city and requested permission from the city to dismantle and reconstruct it using the historic materials. According the developer, the painstaking disassembly process documented and numbered each façade element to allow accurate reassembly. The façade is required to be incorporated into the design of the new building under a Planned Development agreement with the city.
Some concern remains among preservationists, including Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation, who said, “I don’t like to see these kinds of changes because it’s easier for the façade to be damaged coming down.” (DNAinfo, Bloom, 8/16/17)
“We really didn’t find out about the change in plans until after demolition was already in motion.” said Schneider. (Curbed Chicago, Koziarz, 8/16/17)
Full building preservation was desired, but structural issues contributed to the final agreement to preserve only the Milwaukee Ave facade and six feet of the common brick return walls. Additional concessions included a full three-story high, six foot deep reveal to visually separate the historic façade from the new building. The new structure planned to be built above and behind the historic building façade will be set back 15 feet to minimize visibility from Milwaukee Avenue. Out of deference to the historic Weyland Building, the two-story base of the new building will be limestone and the upper stories will be clad in brick. Preservation Chicago wishes to recognize 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno for his support and leadership in arriving at this solution.
The TOD-Transit Oriented Development ordinance has relaxed certain zoning requirements for development in close proximity to transit stations. The result has been increased development pressure on historic buildings within these areas. Preservation Chicago supports reinvestment in our neighborhoods and hopes that the preservation of historic fabric will become a new standard and norm as an essential part for future TOD projects.