PNC Bank is proposing the demolition of the Mid-Century Modern building located at 3844 West Belmont Avenue and Milwaukee Avenue in Avondale to make way for a drive-thru ATM and parking lot. The building’s limestone and Roman brick façade, second story with glass block, strong horizontal lines, step-backs, and rounded corner elements make it a good example of neighborhood Mid-Century Modern with some Art Moderne details. This pedestrian-friendly building is built up to the sidewalk and anchors the corner.
A special use permit is required to allow the proposal to move forward. Preservation Chicago supports neighborhood partners such as the Greater Avondale Chamber of Commerce and the Polish community and encourages 30th Ward Alderman Ariel Reboyras to request that PNC Bank seek a more thoughtful and appropriate solution for the important Milwaukee Avenue commercial corridor and corner. The solution should be more consistent with the highly walkable, pedestrian-friendly stretches of Milwaukee Avenue to the south in Logan Square.
As reported by AJ LaTrace in Chicago Streets Blog, “I would like Alderman Reboyras to protect the structures that are here and saved for future generations,” said Daniel Pogorzelski, a co-author of the book Avondale and Chicago’s Polish Village, former director of the Greater Avondale Chamber of Commerce.
“The demolition of this building would leave a gaping hole in the fabric of a community that many are not cognizant of.” Pogorzelski also suggests that PNC consider selling the building to another institution or business to be reused and preserved if PNC cannot feasibly repurpose the building.
“The building was built by the Slowick family, which was very involved in Avondale, the Polish Village, and Chicago politics,” Pogorzelski explained.
“By demolishing the built environment at that important intersection, you’re not only getting rid of architectural heritage, but you’re literally obliterating an important piece of the history of the Polish people in Avondale.”
“Pogorzelski added that he and Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago had previously tried to protect buildings across the street which also played important roles in the history of the Polish Village. Pogorzelski says that raising awareness of the cultural history of these buildings is critical to their preservation.” (LaTrace, ChicagoStreetsBlog, 11/20/17)