On May 21, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development approved a plan to demolish the Cassidy Tire building to make way for a new 33-story residential tower.
“A plan to demolish the old Cassidy Tire building at 344 N. Canal Street and replace the nearly 120-year-old warehouse with a shiny apartment tower is advancing. Developer The Habitat Company and Chicago-based architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz envision a 33-story building with 343 apartments and 124 parking spaces at the Fulton River District site, according to an email form Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd).
“A casualty of the high-rise development will be the historic Cassidy Tire building, which started life in 1902 as a factory and warehouse for the Tyler & Hippach glass company. The five-story masonry structure was designed by architect Henry J. Schlacks, who is primarily known for creating a number of significant Chicago churches such as Woodlawn’s Shrine of Christ the King, Noble Square’s St. Boniface Church, and Pilsen’s St. Adalbert Parish.
“In addition to being a rare surviving example of Schlacks’s industrial work, the old structure is also notable for being moved more than 200 feet from its original location in 1908. At that time, the undertaking was considered an engineering marvel and was even featured in that year’s The Engineering Record publication, according to research by Preservation Chicago.
“Alderman Reilly has yet to declare his support for the proposal, which will require a zoning change to switch from commercial to residential use.” (Koziarz, 11/27/19)
The building is an excellent example of a “Chicago School” or “Chicago Commercial Style” and is a fine example of a steel-framed structure of its era. Schlacks, who began his architectural career working in the office of Dankmar Adler & Louis Sullivan, is better known for designing many of Chicago’s most beautiful churches. The factory remains largely intact from its original appearance. Most of the original windows remain in place, with the exception of in‐filled openings and newer units on the first and second floors on the north and south elevations.
Preservation Chicago believes the building could be considered for Chicago Landmark designation as it was designed by a prominent architect. Other structures by Henry Schlacks are protected under a Chicago Landmark designation, and this is a rare surviving example of an industrial building by him. Additionally, in 1908, it was reportedly the largest building move ever completed (with a large published article and photographs in “The Engineering Record” for September 19, 1908–page 317). Other notable details include the remarkable contribution of the original owners to Chicago’s architecture and their tragic personal story. Additionally, this is the site Wolf Point which dates back to the very earliest history of Chicago and deserves special care and attention.
Noting all of these factors, Preservation Chicago encourages the City of Chicago to take steps to create a Chicago Landmark designation and encourage the developer to incorporate the Cassidy/Tyler & Hippach Glass Company Building into the larger residential development proposed for this site. There is ample room for both new and old to coexist. We have outreached to 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly to encourage a reuse of the building or the incorporation of it into the proposed development.
With special thanks to Matt Wicklund for his outstanding historic research.
Developer plans 33-story Fulton River District apartment tower, “It’s the perfect point between the West Loop and the Loop,” Habitat President Matt Fiascone said of the 343-unit building he plans at 344 N. Canal St., Alby Gallun, Crain’s Chicago Business, 5/8/19</a