It’s with no small tug of sadness that we watch so many of Chicago’s historic churches shut down, their buildings transformed from cornerstones of the community into abandoned objects of fascination.
Some like Saint Dominic’s in Cabrini Green meet with a wrecking ball and are erased from the cityscape. But others are luckier, in some measure. They get repurposed.
Such is the case for Saint Boniface Church at 1358 West Chestnut Street in Noble Square. Just days before Christmas, the paperwork was filed with the City of Chicago to turn the visually prominent former sanctuary and surrounding property into 45 new homes.
If approved, this will finally start to bring to a resolution the drama that began over 27 years ago when the church was shuttered by the Archdiocese of Chicago. The project is being handled by Palmer Square’s Space Architects, the same firm that is performing a similar miracle at Agudas Achim Synagogue in Uptown.
Fast forward through numerous proposals, protests, and preservation plans for the property, and we end up where we are today: With Stas Development itching to turn the sanctuary into 17 new homes, and building two new buildings adjacent to the church with four and 24 new homes in each.
The church building residences will include a wine storage room in the basement. No word if it will come complete with a sink draining directly into the earth instead of to the sewer system. (That’s Catholic humor there.)
While we’re sad to see this house of worship turned into housing, being repurposed is certainly better than tearing it down. And the church’s 121-foot-tall steeple will continue to stand watch over Chicago for years to come.
Now for the firehose:
- Address: 1340 West Chestnut Street
- Address: 901 North Noble Street
- Architecture firm: Space Architects
- Site area: 32,980 square feet
- Maximum height:
- New Noble Street building: 26 feet
- Church building: 121 feet
- New Chestnut Street building: 51 feet
- Number of residences:
- New Noble Street building: four
- Church building: 17
- New Chestnut Street building: 24
- Retail space: 1,970 square feet (Noble Street building only)
- Automobile parking: 48 spaces combined
- Bicycle parking: 31 spaces combined