Save These Victorian Rowhouses from Demolition!

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UNLESS IMMEDIATE ACTION is taken, these three 1880’s-era rowhouses will be demolished shortly after the 90-Day Demolition Delay hold expires on December 12, 2018. 

These authentic, beautiful, charming historic Chicago rowhouses will be bulldozed to create a vacant lot. The likely strategy is that the urban blight from a vacant lot will help the developer to push through an unpopular plan for a massive parking garage and generic glass-box tower on the site.

Preservation Chicago STRONGLY OPPOSES THE DEMOLITION of these three, architecturally significant, orange-rated rowhouses at 42, 44 and 46 East Superior dating from the 1870’s and 1880’s. The adjacent seven-story Art Deco limestone building and historic four-story red brick Giordano’s building are also endangered.

The clock is ticking as development pressure intensifies and developers have begun to actively targeting the last remaining clusters of intact, low-rise, historic buildings as development sites.

"And with the continued demolition of other shorter, older buildings in the area, that there are only a handful of the original McCormickville buildings left. We need to value every inch of space where there are historic buildings that tell the story of the neighborhood.” Ward Miller, (Curbed Chicago, Koziarz, 12/8/16)

Preservation Chicago urgently requests the City of Chicago and 42nd Ward Alderman Reilly not to release the Demolition Delay Hold and not to issue a Demolition permit until after the public approval process for the new development has been completed. There are many examples, the most notorious being Block 37, in which significant time passed between when the demolition of the existing historic buildings and when the new construction broke ground.

Additionally, Preservation Chicago urgently requests the City of Chicago and 42nd Ward Alderman Reilly to create a new “McCormickville” Landmark District comprised of the handful of remaining historic buildings (less than a dozen) would be a powerful tool to protect this neighborhood’s historic building fabric and strengthen the vibrancy of this community.

For years, Preservation Chicago has advocated for the Designation of the “McCormickville” Landmark District. The need is now urgent in response to the increasing frequency and many recent losses of low-rise historic Near North Side buildings, in and around an area established by Cyrus McCormick’s family and once known as “McCormickville”. 

Located at 42 E. Superior Street (George A. Tripp House), 44 E. Superior Street and 46 E. Superior Street (Hennessey Houses), “these are all really wonderful buildings and they could make part of a landmark district,” said Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago. (Curbed Chicago, Koziarz, 3/14/17)

“To ensure the protection of these buildings, Preservation Chicago is hoping that area residents will help push for the creation of a new "McCormickville" landmark district. This is where the McCormick family lived before and after the Great Chicago Fire." Ward Miller, (Curbed Chicago, Koziarz, 12/8/16)

At the public meeting held by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly in March 2017, regarding the super tall building proposed by a Asian and New York Developer, Ward Miller’s passionate statement in support of preservation was meet with an enthusiastic round of applause from the over 300 residents in attendance.

In April 2017, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly rejected a proposal super-tall 60-story tower development on the site of these historic rowhouses. Alderman Reilly opposed the development in part because of the widespread community opposition due to the traffic issues it would cause and issues of preservation. 

That victory was temporary and it was assumed that the developer would return with a more modest proposal. However, prior to making its revised proposed development plans known, the developer is moving forward with its plans to bulldoze and clear the site. Perhaps the thinking is that by demolishing the historic buildings first and creating a large vacant parcel, the public approval process might prove easier. 

Preservation Chicago is also concerned about the displacement and loss of small, locally owned restaurants and retail Chicago Legacy Businesses that employ Chicagoans and contribute to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods.