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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Historic Uptown School Could Be Turned Into 23-Story Apartment Tower

The building, which once housed Immaculata High School, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Barry Byrne.

A 23-story tower would rise behind the American Islamic College building at Irving Park Road and Marine Drive.
Courtesy 46th Ward Office
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UPTOWN — A pair of Chicago developers is seeking to redevelop the historic former Immaculata High School building in Uptown, including adding a new 23-story tower that would overlook Lake Shore Drive.

Plans have been unveiled for the redevelopment of the former high school at 640 W. Irving Park Rd., which currently houses the American Islamic College.

If approved, the project would bring nearly 500 new housing units to Uptown, with about half of those in a senior living center that would rise near Irving Park Road and Marine Drive.

Developers K Giles LLC and CA Ventures have proposed turning the landmarked building into a 275-unit apartment building. The majority of those would be studios and one-bedrooms, a lawyer for the developers said at a community meeting Monday.

A 23-story building would also rise on the campus and include 220 senior living units, according to the plans. The building will include 128 independent living units, 60 assisted living units and 32 memory care units.

The proposed senior center would rise in the middle of the campus, with main entry off Bittersweet Place. [Courtesy 46th Ward Office]
The proposed senior center would rise in the middle of the campus, with main entry off Bittersweet Place. [Courtesy 46th Ward Office]

A 140-space parking garage would also be built on the site, according to the developers.

The redevelopment of the former high school would comply with city regulations surrounding historic structures, the developers said at the community meeting. Proposed improvements to the buildings include repairing the roof, refurbishing windows and doing masonry work.

Opened in 1921, Immaculata High School was an all-girls Catholic institution. It was designed by Barry Byrne, who worked under Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1983, the school complex received Chicago Landmark status.

The high school shuttered in 1981, with the American Islamic College inhabiting the campus two years later.

CA Ventures and K Giles have a contract to buy the building from the Islamic College, the developers said. It’s not clear what would be next for the college.

In a statement issued after this story originally published, American Islamic College President Daoud Stephen Casewit said the school will relocate.

“The college intends to relocate our growing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to a different site in Chicago yet to be decided upon,” Casewit said.

The redevelopment project will need a zoning change to move forward. Plans for the project were announced at the neighborhood meeting Monday, but will be brought back before neighborhood groups for public input, according to Ald. James Cappleman’s (46th) office.

Cappleman is waiting for additional information on the proposal before scheduling the community meetings, according to his office.

CA Ventures and K Giles have teamed up before to build the 240-unit Eleven40 development in the South Loop. K Giles has worked on a number of historic redevelopment projects, including turning the Old Colony Building at 37 W. Van Buren St. into student housing.

The former Immaculata High School campus received landmark status in 1983. [Google Maps]
The former Immaculata High School campus received landmark status in 1983. [Google Maps]

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