Neighborhood Church To Become Offices and Homes

We’ve seen plenty of Chicago houses of worship transformed into housing in the last 20 years.  What’s proposed for 4601 South Ellis in Kenwood has a twist — offices.

4601 South Ellis (via Apple Maps)
4601 South Ellis (via Apple Maps)

Saint James United Methodist Church moved out of its marvelous house of worship in 2010, and now an application has been filed with the city to give it a new life.  Fortunately, like most Chicago buildings that go from holy to homes, Ibrahim Shihadeh, the person redeveloping this one, plans to keep the exterior as it is and also preserve much of the stained glass.

Even better, according to documents filed with the city, it appears he won’t carve up the worship space or add extra floors.  The twist is that instead of meeting in the sanctuary to discuss God, the new occupants will discuss work in a space that includes offices and co-working space.  The rest of the church will be converted into 29 apartments.  While a few of those apartments will be in the basement, none will be in the steeple.

The building was designed by Tallmadge and Watson and built in 1925.  The redevelopment was designed by Zed Architects in Lake View.

The church didn’t have any of its own parking, and the church building consumes almost the entire lot it’s on, so the developers are also asking the city for permission to put a 61-space parking lot across the street.

  • Address: 4601-4611 South Ellis Avenue
  • Zoning: RT4 → B2-3
  • Floors above grade: 3
  • Floors below grade: 1
  • Height: 53 feet
  • Size: 44,226 square feet
  • Floor area ratio: 1.3

Location: 4601 South Ellis Avenue, Kenwood

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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