LOSS: Despite Being a Designated Chicago Landmark District, Rambler Building on Motor Row Demolished After Extreme Neglect

Rambler Automobile Co. Showroom, 1912, Jenney, Mundie & Jensen, 2246-58 S. Indiana Ave. Designated a Chicago Landmark in 2000. Emergency Demolition due to extreme neglect in 2021. Sky is visible where the roof had partially collapsed in 2014. Photo Credit: Google Maps

Rambler Automobile Co. Showroom, 1912, Jenney, Mundie & Jensen, 2246-58 S. Indiana Ave. Designated a Chicago Landmark in 2000. Emergency Demolition due to extreme neglect in 2021. Sky is visible where the roof had partially collapsed in 2014. Photo Credit: Google Maps

Prior to its emergency demolition, the Rambler Automobile Co. Showroom was a contributing building in the Motor Row Historic Landmark District established in 2000. It was built in 1912 and designed by architects Jenney, Mundie & Jensen. It was located at 2246-58 S. Indiana Ave.

Details surrounding the neglect and demolition remain unclear, but an investigation should be conducted to hold those responsible accountable and to ensure that this circumstance is prevented in the future. Per the recently adopted City of Chicago ordinance specifically designed to prevent demolition by neglect for Designated Chicago Landmarks, sites can become ineligible for new construction for up to ten years.

Current ownership is unknown. An adaptive reuse plan had been proposed in 2014, but never moved forward. Some information regarding the failed 2014 redevelopment plan can be found in a DNA Info article from September 16, 2014.

“The full plan impacts a 2.5-acre site in the South Loop where McHugh Construction plans to build a hotel along Cermak Street between Michigan Avenue and Indiana Avenue, and a data center along Indiana between 23rd Street and Cermak Road.

“The current plan is to house the hotel in a 320-foot-tall, 28-story building. The corner ‘will have a two-story restaurant, with the lobby on Cermak… retail and support spaces will encompass entire first floor,’ architect Joseph Antunovich said.

“The Rambler Building’s exterior will be restored per the development team’s agreement with the city. Its interior would feature a coffee shop on the corner of 23rd Street and Indiana Avenue, but the rest of the building’s ground floor and second floor would be converted to hold 114 parking spaces for use by the hotel and data center.

“Parking could be concealed from the remaining ground floor windows with displays of locally-produced art, Antunovich suggested.

“Antunovich said the developers hoped to start building the data center in mid-November, with the hotel’s groundbreaking sometime in the middle of next year. If the team met its goals, construction would overlap with the McCormick Place hotel, data center and arena projects also in the works.

“Developers have already secured approval from the city’s Landmarks Committee to renovate the Rambler Building ‘the way we’re doing it,’ said Jack George, the attorney representing the developers. (Schiffman Tufano, DNA Info, 9/16/14)

Read the full story at DNA Info

Rambler Building to be Rehabbed into Parking for Data Center, Hotel, Lizzie Schiffman Tufano, DNA Info, 9/16/14

The Rambler Building in Motor Row Historic Landmark District Designation Report, April 3, 2000. Page 53

Zoning Committee moves to protect Chicago landmarks from deliberate neglect, Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/12/18 

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