“The Preston Bradley Center could be getting a new owner for the first time in its nearly 100-year history. The church, cultural center and social services building at 941 W. Lawrence Ave. is listed for sale.
“The Preston Bradley Center was built by its namesake, Rev. Preston Bradley, in 1925 to house his Peoples Church of Chicago. It has been owned by the church ever since, though the building has taken on new lives and tenants throughout the years.
“After years of seeking to preserve and reposition the building in Uptown’s burgeoning entertainment district, the Peoples Church is seeking offers for the building.
“The six-story building includes a nearly 1,300-seat auditorium with two balconies. It has a large hall or event space, office space and art studios, according to the listing. A parking lot is also included on the 15,000-square-foot property.
“The Preston Bradley Center is currently home to the Peoples Church, two other church congregations, a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, the Uptown Arts Center and the Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles.
“The Preston Bradley Center is included in the Uptown Square District, which was given city landmark status in 2016. The building is “orange” rated in the city’s historical survey, meaning plans to demolish or substantially alter the exterior of the building would require approval from the Chicago Landmarks Commission. (Ward, 10/21/20)
While the exterior of Preston Bradley Center / Peoples Church is protected by the Uptown Square Landmark District, the interior is not explicitly protected. In 2015, Preservation Chicago advocated for a individual Chicago Landmark Designation for the building that would include both the exterior and significant interior features including the large 1,300 seat sanctuary/auditorium and the highly decorative Masonic Hall located on the top floor of the building. At that time, the ownership agreed to the Individual Landmark Designation, but unfortunately the Individual Landmark Designation did not proceed. We’d like to revisit the possibility of creating an Individual Landmark Designation for Preston Bradley Hall/Peoples Church which would both protect these important interior spaces and provide assistance to support the creation of a cultural center to serve the greater Uptown community.
Uptown’s Historical Preston Bradley Center, With 1,300-Seat Auditorium, For Sale; The Preston Bradley Center was built in 1925. It has housed the Peoples Church and social service groups ever since, Jay Ward, Block Club Chicago, 10/21/20