Designed by Solon S. Beman in 1914, the Shiloh Baptist Church/5th Church of Christ Scientist is located at 4820 S. Dorchester Avenue and is a contributing building in the Hyde Park – Kenwood Landmark District. After decades of vacancy, neglect, and the resulting severely deteriorated condition, a redevelopment plan has emerged that will preserve the columned front façade. This façade is protected as a contributing building within the Landmark District.
Preservation Chicago has long sought to find a patron for the building and would have preferred a preservation-oriented developer who would have stabilized and redeveloped not just the façade of this historic landmark but the entire building. The building’s condition continued to deteriorate during the ownership of current owner and developer, John Liu, which resulted in the emergency demolition of the rear portion of the building, leaving only the front façade and return walls on the side of the building still standing. Preservation Chicago and concerned members of the Hyde Park and Kenwood community attended many Building Court hearings regarding the building.
Liu announced plans to build 13 townhouses around a courtyard in November 2018. Each townhouse would be approximately 3,500 square feet, with underground garages. According to the developer, the “earlier plans entailed preserving some or all of the original building and parts of its interior, but Liu said the “only way we could do this at a price that meets the market” was to demolish all but the columned—and landmarked—facade. Demolition is at least 80 percent complete, he said, and the first two townhouses, which have the facade as one of their walls, are [said to be] under construction.” (Rodkin, Crain’s, 11/8/18)