Alderman and East Andersonville Homeowners Support Downzoning to Protect Neighborhood from Demolition Pressure

In 2017, the beautifully ornamented limestone historic greystone at 1436 W. Berwyn Avenue in East Andersonville was threatened by demolition. A developer had purchased the double lot with plans to replace the building and garden with a six-flat. The lot site was particularly attractive to the developer because the underlying RT-4 zoning allowed for a higher density and more FAR (Floor-area-ratio) than the existing building. Because the developer was planning to build “as-of-right”, or within the permitted zoning allowance, he would be able to proceed over the objections of the alderman and neighborhood.

In 2017, the beautifully ornamented limestone historic greystone at 1436 W. Berwyn Avenue in East Andersonville was threatened by demolition. A developer had purchased the double lot with plans to replace the building and garden with a six-flat. The lot site was particularly attractive to the developer because the underlying RT-4 zoning allowed for a higher density and more FAR (Floor-area-ratio) than the existing building. Because the developer was planning to build “as-of-right”, or within the permitted zoning allowance, he would be able to proceed over the objections of the alderman and neighborhood.

Despite the highly challenging “path to preservation” surrounding 1436 W. Berwyn Avenue, widespread opposition to the demolition and a sustained preservation effort resulted in a preservation victory and the home has been saved. The developer agreed to sell the property, at a significant profit, to a new preservation-sensitive buyer who is deconverting the two-flat to a single family home and is restoring its historic features. Additionally, the landscaped side yard and mature American elm tree will be preserved.