WIN: Historic Wicker Park Church School Building Reuse Proposal

The historic school building adjacent to the First Bethlehem Evangelical Church owned by the Franciscan Outreach Association and currently used as a soup kitchen will likely be adaptively reused for 16 residential apartments by Lakeview-based developer Anne Shutler.

The 3-story red brick building is located at 1645 W. Le Moyne and is orange-rated in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey. The words “Ev. Lutherische Bethlehems Schule” are inscribed in stone at the top of the building. The architect of the school building is not known.

According to the project architect Philip Casagrande of Casagrande Architects, “the existing building has some really great brick masonry detailing which we intend to preserve, including jack-arches and belt courses in a variety of colors. Some of the existing brick openings will be infilled with brick” or more likely filled with frosted glass on the ground floor based upon comments from the Wicker Park Committee’s preservation and development subcommittee.

Christian Ficara from 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins office said, “as a preservation and landmark advocate, Alderman Hopkins agreed with the WPC that the preservation and restoration of this historic building façade is in keeping with the integrity of the beautiful Wicker Park neighborhood,” (Hauser, Block Club Chicago, 6/20/18)

Preservation Chicago is thrilled that this important orange-rated building will be sensitively adaptively reused. We applaud the developer Anne Shutler for choosing this direction for the development. We also applaud 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins for his continued leadership to help protect historic buildings within the 2nd Ward and throughout Chicago.

Preservation Chicago wishes to acknowledge the important contribution to the community from the Wicker Park Committee and the Wicker Park Committee’s Preservation and Development Subcommittee. The oversight from advisory committees like these play an important role in helping to encourage sensitive development, helping to improve specific development proposals, and creating a constructive public process to assist the local aldermanic office to fully vet proposed development well before it reaches the alderman’s desk. We encourage every community in Chicago to organize their own advisory committees in partnership with the local aldermanic office to improve the quality of proposed new development.

Additional Reading

Wicker Park Soup Kitchen Would Become Apartments Under New Plan, Alisa Hauser, Block Club Chicago, 6/20/18

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