Back when Chicago’s Immaculate Conception parish and Saint Joseph parish were individual communities, there was a school on the corner of Orleans and Hill Streets, next to Cabrini Green. Saint Joseph School at 1035 North Orleans Street closed almost a decade ago, but a real estate developer is trying to re-open it as a hotel.
The conversion involves adding six stories on top of the two-story school, resulting in a 130-foot-tall, 65,000 square foot building with 114 hotel rooms, a 450-person meeting facility, and precisely four residences.
The people behind the conversion are asking the city for permission to have zero parking, saying this project falls under the “Transit-Served Locations” portion of Chicago’s zoning ordinance.
Even if you’re not Roman Catholic, you probably know Immaculate Conception-Saint Joseph Church. It’s the reason the CTA’s Brown and Purple lines take a jog eastward when entering and leaving downtown. The 1878 church predates the train line. When the Northwestern Elevated Railroad came through the neighborhood, it tried to buy the church to tear it down, but the parish refused to move from the building it built just a few years earlier, and thus Church Curve was built.
The Northwestern Elevated Railroad Company ceased to exist 95 years ago. The church is still going.