WEST RIDGE — Misericordia’s plans to greatly expand its West Ridge housing campus received support of the City Council on Wednesday, officially ending an effort to preserve a former tennis club that stood in the way.
The Catholic nonprofit received final approval for its plans to convert the former tennis club grounds at 1925 W. Thome Ave into 16 group homes for about 120 residents.
The new housing would be adjacent to Misericordia’s West Ridge campus, where around 600 developmentally disabled children and adults live and receive support services.
Expanding the housing campus will help Misericordia cut down on a 300-person wait list for its housing services, nonprofit officials have said.
But those plans sparked a preservation effort for the former tennis club. The 1925 structure was labeled “potentially” significant under the city’s historical survey. Misericordia bought the building for $7.5 million in 2018.
Preservationists and neighbors asked Misericordia to keep the building on the campus and build around it. The building, however, could not be retrofitted to be safe and accessible to people with disabilities, the charity said.
Misericordia allowed preservationists to seek a potential buyer for the building, who would then be charged with moving it. No buyer came forward under Misericordia’s timeline.
The tennis club was demolished in June.
Two of the group homes would be built as single-story ranches for people using wheelchairs, while the others would be two-story homes for up to eight residents each.
A private road will be constructed through the housing campus, and green space will be left in the center of the area, while trees will line the new road, renderings show.
The plans were received initial approval from the city Plan Commission in December. At the meeting, Chicago Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox acknowledged the preservation fight, but said the new community housing is of greater community need.
“We unfortunately lost that building,” Cox said. “What we will gain is a stronger community and more appropriate accommodations for the population that live there.”
Misericordia is hoping to break ground late winter or early spring and have its new housing move-in ready by fall 2022, spokesperson Julie O’Sullivan said.
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