UPDATE: Over the strong objections of the developer, the Lake Street Schlitz Tied House was recommended on June 3, 2021 for consideration for Final Landmark Designation by the Chicago City Council. The City Council has 90 days to vote to approve the recommendation. If no vote is taken, the recommendation fails and a demolition permit must be issued. Significant milestones have been achieved to save and protect this building, but vigilance is required until the final Landmark status is approved. The incredible support for Preservation Chicago’s online petition (over 8,300 signatures) played a vital role in communicating the importance of this building to decisionmakers.
The developer’s objections to the Preliminary Chicago Landmark designation of the Lake Street Schlitz Tied House triggered an expedited process with a “courtroom-style” Commission on Chicago Landmarks hearing complete with lawyers and expert witnesses on May 12, 2021. Preservation Chicago testified in strong support of the building’s protection and designation and we submitted all petition signatures and comments in support into the permanent record.
“The former home of La Luce Italian restaurant, which was nearly torn down late last year, once again has been granted a reprieve from demolition.
“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted unanimously to grant temporary landmark status for 1393-1399 W. Lake St. following impassioned pleas from preservationists and dozens of citizens. Commissioners also rejected the owner’s permit application seeking to tear down the building 19th century, Queen Anne Victorian building.
“The commission’s approval of initial landmark status triggered an expedited process for permanently protecting the 130-year-old Fulton Market building. Under the city code, the commission must schedule a public hearing and notify City Council of its recommendation within 90 days.
“Commissioner Maurice Cox said the developers were sitting on a ‘vintage’ and ‘pretty rare asset’ in Chicago architectural history. The city doesn’t lose structures like this as part of a mass demolition, he added. ‘You lose them one building at a time, until you are hanging on to one or two exemplars,’ he said. ‘I would encourage the development team for this particular site to embrace those assets that will in fact enrich [development.]’
“Preservation Chicago Executive Director Ward Miller said the building’s red brick, limestone, ornamental bays and copper features are ‘nothing less than outstanding,’ he said. The building was constructed in anticipation of the 1893 World’s Fair and is still visible for blocks, he added.
“Petitioners also provided 24 pages’ comments opposing demolition. Lauren Zawilenski wrote, ‘More of Chicago’s history needs to be preserved. Buildings like this are getting knocked down and overdeveloped left and right!’
“Gregory Stepanek wrote, ‘I pass this building on a daily basis, and always marvel at its uniqueness. We have lost far too much of our history. Let us NOT lose this gem. Let’s stop erasing our history.’
You can see signatures and comments here. (Peña and Alani, Block Club Chicago, 4/1/21)
Preservation Chicago is thrilled at this outcome. We have advocated for the building’s preservation since 2016 and with urgency over the past six months since its change of ownership.
Former La Luce Building In West Loop Saved From Demolition Again, Given Temporary Landmark Protection; The former Schlitz Tied House dates back to 1891. Most tied houses of this size and stature have been torn down, city officials said, Mauricio Peña and Hannah Alani, Block Club Chicago, 4/1/21
After Being Spared From The Wrecking Ball, Victorian Building Formerly Home To La Luce Could Get Landmark Status; If approved, the recommendation would be the first step in designating the Fulton Market building, which dates back to 1891, a city landmark, Mauricio Peña, Block Club Chicago, 3/31/21
129-Year-Old Victorian Building, Former Home To La Luce, Scheduled For Demolition; The former Italian restaurant and Midwest Performance Cars buildings are being torn down, likely to make way for a development, Jay Koziarz, Block Club Chicago, 12/2/20