THREATENED: Loretto Academy Building to be Sold at Foreclosure Auction on October 28, 2019 (Chicago 7 2019)

Loretto Academy / The Institute of the Blessed Virgin, William P. Doerr, 1905 with 1927 addition, 1447 E. 65th Street. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Loretto Academy / The Institute of the Blessed Virgin, William P. Doerr, 1905 with 1927 addition, 1447 E. 65th Street. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

After many years of vacancy and deferred maintenance, the former Loretto Academy/The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Building located at 1447 E. 65th Street in Woodlawn will be sold at auction at a foreclosure auction. The building was owned by The Woodlawn Organization and controlled by Reverend Leon Finney. The foreclosure auction will be held October 28 at 10:30. Pre-auction open houses are scheduled for October 4 from 10 to 12 and October 10 from 1 to 3. Pre-registration required. Please see Auction Brochure for more details.

Loretto Academy and The Institute of the Blessed Virgin (Mary) is a picturesque four-and-a-half-story building, with a three-and-a-half story addition, situated in Chicago’s Woodlawn community and a short distance west of historic Jackson Park. It was designed by William P. Doerr in 1905 with a 1927 addition. The area was known locally as “Carmelite Way,” with several former and present Catholic institutions including The Shrine and Institute of Christ the King (originally St. Clara Church and School and later St. Clara–St. Cyril, then St. Gelasius), Mount Carmel High School and the affiliation with this once prominent school for girls. After the school closed in the early 1970s, the Loretto Academy building served a variety of uses and has been subject to a long period of disinvestment and neglect. It is currently vacant and has fallen into disrepair.

While owners and uses have changed over the past four decades, the building has been vacant and mothballed in recent years. In addition, vandals have removed much of the patinated copper cornice and fascia of the upper facades. Large blue tarps were stretched over the high gabled mansard roofs over the last couple of years, and these have become shredded over time. While the building appears secure, we are concerned that water infiltration from a leaking roof may be contributing to further deterioration of the building.

This remarkable building should be considered for a reuse by another institution or as residential housing. The community is in need of permanent, affordable housing, and its close proximity to several transportation lines makes it an ideal location for such a use. It could also be used in tandem with Mount Carmel High School, as it is situated across the street from Mount Carmel’s Athletic Fields on 65th Street and a short distance to Stony Island Avenue and nearby Jackson Park.

Prior to the current foreclosure proceedings, the former Loretto Academy Building was currently owned by Reverend Leon Finney of the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church located in the Bronzeville community. Reverend Finney is also the long-time president of The Woodlawn Organization and the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation.

The foreclosure auction will be held October 28 at 10:30. Pre-auction open houses are scheduled for October 4 from 10 to 12 and October 10 from 1 to 3. Pre-registration required. Please see Auction Brochure for more details.

Additional Reading
Loretto Academy Auction Information Website: Millennium Properties

Loretto Academy Auction Flyer: Millennium Properties

Dogged by fraud allegations, Rev. Leon Finney Jr. will watch his real estate empire get auctioned off; The sale of over 100K sf of South Side real estate will help cover the nonprofit company’s debts, TRD Staff, The Real Deal 9/11/19

Rev. Leon Finney Jr.’s Free Fall; For decades, the South Side powerhouse’s nonprofits got millions in public housing money. Now, he’s facing allegations of fraud and self-dealing, Carlos Ballesteros, Tom Schuba, and Jon Seidel, Chicago Tribune, 9/6/19

The real scandal behind Leon Finney’s downfall; The Woodlawn developer continued to land millions in public housing contracts despite his decades-long record of self-dealing and mismanagement, Curtis Black, The Chicago Reporter, 9/12/19

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