redevelopment

Change comes to 2700 North Lakeview

Clearing away the dreck at the 2700 N Lakeview.The corner mansion at 2700 North Lakeview has changed hands and been emptied of its innards, in advance of being redeveloped.  This historic property, which for decades has housed a recovery center for the mentally ill, appears poised to become a residence again.  The fire escapes and boarded-over windows that disfigured its facade have vanished, yielding a clearer view of this massive townhouse, which, with its three neighbors to the north, were designed by the firm of Adler and Dangler and built between 1915 and 1917.

The Lakeview Avenue Row Houses, as they are called collectively, sought and acquired landmark status from the city in late May, 2016.  The original owners of the four Georgian-style houses (numbered 2700, 2704, 2708, and 2710, respectively) were the Philadelphia-born Emily Borie Ryerson, Abram Poole, Henry Corwith Dangler (who co-designed the townhouses and died the year they were completed), and Ambrose C. Cramer (Dangler’s cousin, who was also an architect).  Two more townhouses, intended for muralist Frederic Clay Bartlett and investor George F. Porter, were never built.  They would have occupied the ground where the Elks Memorial stands.

After Emily Ryerson, a widow, remarried and moved to New York, her house changed hands twice before being acquired in 1946 to be put to use as a private school.  (The fire escapes dated from that time.)  By the 1970s, the school had outgrown the property and moved up to 541 Hawthorne Place, selling its old home to the non-profit Thresholds, which owned it until 2016.  A group of buyers whom Michael Lerner represented bought the by-then-rundown mansion for $2.8 million dollars; but Lerner, et al., quickly unloaded it in an unimproved state, selling it to investors associated with Foster Design Build in March 2017.

This video by Dennis Rodkin, who covers Chicago real estate, gives some idea of the original grandeur of the David Adler-designed interiors, which the other homes in the bloc have better preserved.  Because of number 2700’s institutional ownership, much of its inner integrity has been destroyed.  The day I walked by, the demolition crew were still working; when asked what was left of the original interior, they mentioned only a ballroom and a spiral stair.

The new grocery store

Night-time construction at Clark and Division, Chicago
All the sudden, several old familiar grocery stores are closing and being torn down.

From my bus stop at night, I can see the work going forward on the site of the old Jewel at Clark and Division.  It was a large store, right next to the el, with a very large surface parking lot.  A few months back, the building was demolished, and now the entire site is being redeveloped.  It is valuable real estate, in a high density neighborhood.  No doubt the new grocery store will be larger, and there will be a parking deck of some kind; and more use will be crammed on to the site, wrapped within a taller building. More

Big changes at London Guarantee

Men working on the facade of the London Guarantee Building, Chicago, October 2014.
The London Guarantee and Accident Building, one of Chicago’s most recognizable landmarks, is being redeveloped.  The massive old building is more or less vacant, and crews are at work all over the exterior, which sports gaping holes where old windows and damaged stone have been removed. More