LOGAN SQUARE — An early 1900s church on Cortland Street in Logan Square will soon come down to make way for a single-family home, much to the disappointment of Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and local preservationists.
New Life Church at 3518 W. Cortland St., which was built in 1903, will soon face a wrecking ball. Developer MK Construction & Builders Inc. was issued a demolition permit Oct. 7, according to city records.
Last year, the developer was issued a construction permit to build a single-family home with a detached two-car garage and a 6-foot-tall wood fence in its place. An attempt to reach the developer was unsuccessful Tuesday.
La Spata and preservationists oppose the demolition of the two-story brick church, which was built for Pacific Congregational Church, a congregation organized in 1883.
“The historic churches were a core of our communities for so long. Seeing them knocked down piecemeal like this … it’s troubling,” said Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation, a group that works to preserve historical buildings in the neighborhood.
The developer does not need aldermanic approval to tear down the church and build anew, said Nick Zettel, La Spata’s policy director. The project is allowed under current zoning parameters, Zettel said. And while old, the church is not a protected city landmark.
It’s unclear how long New Life Church has called the building home. Cook County property records show Williams Healing Temple took over the building in 1992. New Life Church officials couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
By razing the Logan Square church, MK Construction is bucking a trend among developers to restore churches and convert them into apartments, condos or single-family homes.
Church conversions have become common in Chicago and across the country as more and more churches close.
More broadly, the New Life project comes as Logan Square continues to lose affordable housing stock in favor of single-family homes.
Schneider said the small, mid-block churches, like New Life Church, are “particularly in danger” of demolition because they often sit on a lot of land, which makes them “attractive” to developers.
“Too often we don’t get to have a conversation about what happens to these buildings. I think that’s a real shame,” he said.
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