LOSS: Built in 1860 Before the Great Chicago Fire, Developers Demolish 116 N. Willard Court

Italianate home at 116 N. Willard Court, built circa 1860. Demolished December 2021. Photo Credit: Gabriel X. Michael

“An Italianate home in the West Loop, built about a decade before the Great Chicago Fire, is headed for demolition, likely to be replaced by condos.

“The three-story Italianate building at 116 N. Willard Court was built around 1860, according to the Cook County Assessor. The October 1871 fire stopped at the east bank of the Chicago River’s South Branch, and this building is several blocks west of the river. Thus, it’s not quite a survivor of the fire, although it’s very rare for the downtown parts of Chicago.

“The development firm that bought the red brick building from longtime owners in mid-November received a demolition permit from the city’s department of buildings on Dec. 2, 2021.

“Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago, said 116 N. Willard is one of about 200 ‘first-quality buildings,’ still recognizable in their early form, remaining from the years just before and just after the fire in the downtown neighborhoods.

“‘There’s a finite number of them, and they really should be honored,’ Miller said. His group recommended that the city create a thematic landmark district this year in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the fire, but ‘that didn’t go anywhere in City Hall,’ he said.

“The Willard site is an unlikely one for a single-family home, as most of the neighbors on the block are warehouses, commercial buildings and parking lots. But in the fast-changing West Loop, with a short-street site that is half a block south of Randolph Street’s dining and drinking scene, anything is possible.

Developer “PLD initially applied for a demolition permit in November 2020, but because the building is rated orange in the city’s historical buildings survey, it was subject to an automatic 90-day delay. That delay expired in February.” (Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 12/7/21)

Say goodbye to this 1860s West Loop home; The home, which predates the Great Chicago Fire, sold for a little over $2 million to developers who got a demolition permit last week, Dennis Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 12/7/21

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