WIN: Epiphany Center for the Arts Opens its Doors

“While Chicagoans eagerly await the return of live music and entertainment to venues across the city, Chicago’s newest venue has been putting on live indoor shows already. Epiphany Center for the Arts, which includes the former Church of the Epiphany at 201 S. Ashland Ave. along with other buildings on its 42,000-square-foot campus, is home to three unique venues — Epiphany Hall, The Sanctuary and The Catacombs — along with a cafe and a courtyard.

“Developer David Chase and his wife, Kimberly Rachal, converted the former church and adjacent property into a $15 million venue to host live music, art exhibits, weddings, galas and other private events.

“The church, constructed in 1885 with additions built in 1895, was bought by a team led by Chase in 2017 in what he described as the most complex deal of his career — and one he first viewed through the lens of a developer rather than a venue owner.

“Additionally, he said it was ‘too premature’ for a residential development. However, while various people were looking at his new property, one remarked that the sanctuary would make an amazing music venue. Another told Chase the same thing about Epiphany Hall. And a third told him that it would be perfect for art exhibits, and it made him think of using it for events. But at the time he was thinking short-term.

“After closing in 2017, it took almost two years to restore the venue. Chase said the entire project cost $14.7 million, and was privately funded and came in under budget.

“While the church’s ‘bones’ were in very good shape, Chase said they restored the stained glass, installed a new HVAC system, new plumbing, electrical and excavated two feet from the floor of the basement. While they brought things up to date, crews were diligent about preserving much of the church’s original character, like the terracotta tiles inside the church and the woodwork throughout all the buildings.

“Up one floor is the Sanctuary, a smaller venue with a capacity of 150 that in the 1960s was the meeting spot of the Black Panthers. It also hosted Fred Hampton’s memorial. (Chiarito, Block Club Chicago, 3/15/21)

Preservation Chicago has been an advocate for the preservation and adaptive reuse of the Epiphany Center for the Arts / former Church of the Epiphany for many years. We’re thrilled by the current reuse plan and hope that its becomes template for the creative reuse of other shuttered religious buildings.

Read the full story and see many photos at Block Club Chicago

Chicago’s Newest Music Venue, Epiphany Center For The Arts, Is Staging Live, Social-Distanced Indoor Shows; Developer David Chase and his wife, Kimberly Rachal, converted the former church and adjacent property into a $15 million venue to host live music, art exhibits, weddings, galas and private events, Bob Chiarito, Block Club Chicago, 3/15/21

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