Assumption Catholic Church (323 West Illinois Street) is already a semi-frequent haunt of this blogger. Now there’s another reason besides the 12:10 weekday mass to stop by — the church is going to sprout a skyscraper.
42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly broke the news in an e-mail to his constituents late yesterday. The John Buck Company and Assumption Church are teaming up to turn Assumption’s surface parking lot into a 23-story residential building.
The parking lot is to the east of the church, sandwiched between the Italianate sanctuary and the CTA Brown Line elevated tracks. The church priory, on the west side of the sanctuary, will get a vertical addition.
If you’re having a hard time putting your finger on the exact location, think of it as across the street from venerable Chicago eatery Gene And Georgetti with the sign boasting”Chicago’s finest since 1941.”
But before you make any assumptions about the success of this project (see what we did there?), it’s worth noting that for many years Old Saint Patrick’s Church in the West Loop has been trying to do something similar — convert one of its parking lots into an office tower. It’s something that more and more diocese around the country are doing. As church budgets tighten, their land banks are shrinking.
But in spite of O.S.P. being a very cloud-heavy church with lots of boldfaced names in attendance, it hasn’t been able to pull this off. We’ll see what happens with Assumption.