WIN: Alderman Moves to Protect Historic Garage After Vote Changes Status to “Non-Contributing”

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“A North Side alderman is trying to block a planned apartment building in Old Town, saying it clashes with a historic building that’s part of the project.

“Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, has filed a proposal in City Council to reduce the zoning on the property at 1810 N. Wells St., a move that would prevent Chicago developer Howard Weiner of Condor Partners from moving forward with the 18-unit project on the site.

“Preservationists object to the development because Weiner wants to add a three-story building behind an existing one-story storefront, a former stable built in 1883. Smith has taken their side, pushing to downzone the property after a city landmarks committee approved it in early October.

“‘This project is something that is inconsistent with our historic district,’ Smith said. ‘It is causing a lot of angst’ in Old Town.

“Weiner plans to preserve the façade of the one-story building, which he would buy from Marion Parry, the owner of A New Leaf Studio & Garden, a flower shop next door that recently closed. But Smith argues that new additions to protected structures should not be visible from the street.

“The existing building is not a city landmark but sits within the Old Town Triangle District, a landmark district created in 1977. As a result, the project needed the approval of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks’ Permit Review Committee.

“Preservationists and community groups pursued a well-organized campaign against Weiner’s plan. The landmarks committee received 186 pages of emails regarding the project before an Oct. 1 meeting to review it.

“But the committee allowed the development to go forward, voting to designate the one-story building as a ‘non-contributing’ structure within the landmark district. Smith wants to trump that decision by placing more restrictive zoning on the property, a move that would need the approval of the City Council. She said she’s hoping to reach a compromise with Weiner, declining to elaborate on the options.

“If the City Council approves Smith’s downzoning proposal, Parry could take the city to court, arguing that the move represents an illegal shifting of the goal posts that depresses the value of her property. Other real estate investors, including the owner of space in the Pittsfield Building in the Loop and a developer of a proposed Pilsen residential project, have sued the city in recent years after the council downzoned their properties, alleging that the moves violated their property rights.” (Gallun, Crain’s Chicago Business, 11/25/20)

Read the full story at Crain’s Chicago Business

Old Town apartment project faces a new obstacle

Ald. Michele Smith wants to downzone the property at 1810 N. Wells, saying a proposed three-story project there would clash with a 137-year-old building on the site, Alby Gallun, Crain’s Chicago Business, 11/25/20

Neighbors Fuming After Historic Old Town Stable Loses Landmark Status, Will Become Modern Condos; The building was built in 1883 as a horse stable and designated “contributing” to the neighborhood’s Historic Landmark District status in 1984. It lost its status Thursday, Block Club Chicago, Jake Wittich, 10/2/20

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