THREATENED: Historic Lofts Buildings Potentially Threatened by Development on former Moody Bible Property

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North Union Proposed Development Site. Rendering Credit: JDL Development

Neely Printing Building, Built in 1922 by architects Fugard & Knapp with additions in 1936 and 1941 designed by Thielbar & Fugard, 871 Franklin St. Photo Credit: Google Maps

917 N. Franklin St. at Walton, from 1922 by architect August C. Wilmanns. It originally housed the Ernest J. Kruetgen engraving plant and later housed Franklin Offset Litho. Photo Credit: Google Maps

The Lighthouse Institute, 221 W. Walton Street, c. 1890s with streetscape. Photo Credit: Google Maps

Western News Company Garage Building, 312 W. Walton Street. Photo Credit: Google Maps

“A Chicago developer wants to build 2,680 residential units on the Near North Side, one of the most ambitious proposals in the city in decades. JDL Development’s plan, which includes towers rising 587, 512 and 500 feet tall, is on 8.1 acres the developer has a deal to buy from Moody Bible Institute, JDL founder and CEO Jim Letchinger said Monday.

“The project would include rental apartments, condos and low-rise residences such as town homes. The project will create 236 affordable units on-site and 110 off-site, Letchinger said.

“The first public meeting for the project, called North Union, is scheduled for Nov. 12 and will be conducted virtually.

“Big plans have been in the works for months, but the exact scale of JDL’s vision was unknown until Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, informed constituents of an upcoming community meeting in an email Monday afternoon. Hopkins and Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th, both will weigh in on the project, with input from neighborhood groups.

“In addition to support from local aldermen, JDL needs an amendment to an existing planned development, which requires approval of the Chicago Plan Commission and the City Council.

“North Union’s master plan is designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture.

“The site is roughly bound by CTA elevated train tracks and Oak, Chestnut and Wells streets.

“Moody Bible plans to remain on its main campus at 820 N. LaSalle Drive south of the North Union site it is selling.” (Ori, 10/27/20)

There are a number of historic buildings within the boundaries of the proposed “North Union” development site. They should be retained and repurposed. As part of this project, Preservation Chicago would like to see protections for the historic buildings defined by a written agreement and included in the PD-Planned Development.

Eastern areas of the development site contain many surface parking lots and newer structures, particularly along Wells. However, there are a number of historic buildings located within or near the site, particularly around the Franklin Street Corridor and the CTA’s Brown Line Tracks. The list below includes a variety of historic structures which may or may not be owned by Moody or JDL, but should be considered and potentially protected as part of the master redevelopment plan.

The Neely Building is three-story building at 871 N. Franklin St. and originally housed the Neely Printing Company. Built in 1922 by architects Fugard & Knapp with additions in 1936 and 1941 designed by Thielbar & Fugard. Link to Wikipedia article for this building.

917 N. Franklin at the southeast corner of Franklin and Walton was also built in 1922, and was designed by August C. Wilmanns. It originally housed the Ernest J. Kruetgen engraving plant and later housed Franklin Offset Litho, an affiliate of the Neely Printing Company.

221 W. Walton – The Lighthouse Institute, a 2-story c. 1890s brick building
917 N. Franklin – 2-story brick c. 1910-1920 era building (appears empty)
920 N. Franklin – 4-story brick building
900 N. Franklin – 8-story brick building c. 1910-1920s
871 N. Franklin- “Neely Building” 3-story building (boarded-up entry)
868 N. Franklin – 2-story brick building, with a green clay tile roof c. 1910-1920s
870 N. Franklin – 3-story brick residential building, c. 1880s-1890s
312 W. Chestnut/315 W. Locust – “Borden’s Building” a 2-story yellow brick Art Deco/Art Moderne Building (next to the Brown Line Tracks)/coffee shop building
210 W. Chestnut – 2-story limestone clad Art Moderne building
315 W. Walton – “Instrument Laboratories” – a two story highly ornamented brick façade (next to the Brown Line Tracks) – orange-rated in the CHRS.
312 W. Walton – “Western News Company Garage Building” – a two story highly ornamented brick façade (next to the Brown Line Tracks)

Read the full story at the Chicago Tribune

Developer reveals plan for land alongside Moody Bible Institute: More than 2,600 apartments, condos and town homes, Ryan Ori, Chicago Tribune, 10/27/20

Link to register for Initial virtual community meeting for “North Union” mixed-use development project scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Registration for the Zoom webinar is open now.

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