The City of Chicago has issued a construction permit for a new building just down the block from the intersection of Halsted Street, Lincoln Avenue, and Fullerton Avenue. Belmont Village (700 West Fullerton) is also known as Building H of the massive demolition and redevelopment of the former Children’s Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park into a new mixed-use development called The Lincoln Common.
DIRECT DEVELOPER SERVICES: NEW 7 STORIES WITH 2 BASEMENT LEVELS, HOUSING FOR ELDERLY, TYPE-1 CONSTRUCTION BUILDING WITH 90 SUB-GRADE PARKING SPACES AS PER PLANS.
Seven stories is the same height as the Nellie A. Black Building, the recently demolished structure that this new building will replace. In fact, developers Hines and McCaffery Interests promise that the new building will look a lot like the old one, according to city documents:
The exterior of the new building will resemble the exterior features of the former Nellie Black building with similar brick and stone, similar windows and cornice lines and will be constmcted to similar proportions and scale. (City ordinance SO2012-4974, July 25, 2012)
Though some neighborhood residents complained about the loss of the Black Building’s unique character, city planners did not find it worth saving, noting that, “710 West Fullerton Avenue (also known as the Nellie Black Building) has no historic designations.” Preservation Chicago saw it differently, and included it in its list of most endangered buildings in the city in 2011. The group describes the building thusly:
The Nellie A. Black and James Deering Building sits at 700-710 West Fullerton and 2416 North Orchard Street. These sister build- ings were built in 1932 by Pickney and Johnson with a Renaissance Revival style. The original Maurice Porter Memorial Hospital building was demolished in order to build these two buildings, which housed nurses and interns.
In community meetings, developer Dan McCaffery told neighbors that work was done to see if the building could be converted to residential use without tearing it down, but its antiquated design isn’t up to today’s standards. That notion rings true when you understand that the building is going to be used as an old folks home, which means it needs extra-wide doors, larger bathrooms, a level entryway, and other ADA-style features.