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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Plans To Turn Historic West Loop Church Into Art Gallery And Restaurant Presented To Neighbors Tuesday

The shuttered Church of the Epiphany, built in 1885, hosted the funerals for slain Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and murdered Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison Sr.

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WEST LOOP — A developer aims to convert the shuttered Church of the Epiphany at 201 S. Ashland Ave. into an art gallery, event space and restaurant, according to Ald. Jason Ervin’s 28th Ward office.

West Loop neighbors will have a chance to weigh in on plans for the church building at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Park Tavern, 1645 W. Jackson Blvd.

In 2017, Chicago-based developer BCG Enterprises LLC introduced plans to convert the 134-year-old church into an art gallery and studios, according to Curbed. 

Under the 2017 proposal, the building would be protected, and a rooftop deck that would hold 150 people was planned, the report said.

The church was landmarked by the city in the mid-1990s and was closed in 2011 due to a dwindling congregation.

According to Preservation Chicago, the church was built in 1885, with additions built in 1895, and many early members of the church came from Boston. Designed by architects Edward Burling and Francis Whitehouse, it is considered an “excellent early example” of Richardsonian Romanesque Revival architecture in Chicago.

The church held the 1893 funeral of assassinated Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison Sr. It also hosted a memorial service for slain Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in 1969.

Last summer, the church building hosted a Nike basketball training camp called “Just Do It HQ at the Church,” a four-hour basketball workshop for young athletes from the city’s South and West sides.

Credit: Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago
Nike converted an abandoned church into facility for teens to develop basketball skills in the West Loop.
Credit: NIke Chicago
The basketball court at Nike’s “Just Do It HQ at the Church” in West Loop.
Credit: Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago
Young athletes listen to Chicago Sky players impart wisdom from their journey to become professional athletes in the WNBA.

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