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Lincoln Park, Old Town

Old Town Developers Tap World-Class Architect To Design Projects In The Neighborhood

David Adjaye, known for projects like the National Museum of African American History, will design a cluster of buildings at and around the Moody Church campus.

Globally known architect David Adjaye will design plans for a series of notable properties in Old Town.
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OLD TOWN — Developers have recruited architect David Adjaye to overhaul several properties in Old Town, including the site of the old Treasure Island Grocery Store.

Adjaye, known for projects like the National Museum of African American History and Culture, was selected to design buildings owned by Fern Hill and Moody Church, a historic non-denominational Christian Church at 1635 N. LaSalle Drive.

The development, which generally surrounds the area of 1600 N. LaSalle Drive, will include:

  • the BP Gas Station at 1647 N. LaSalle Drive.
  • the Shell Gas Station at 130 W. North Ave.
  • the Moody Church campus.
  • the parking lot at North Avenue and LaSalle Drive.
  • the Walgreens at 1601 N. Wells St.
  • the vacant Treasure Island retail space on Wells Street.

“We’ve asked ourselves as owners, ‘Who do we take this disjointed collection of separate parcels and transition these sites to a more cohesive and inclusive vision for the community as a whole?'” said Fern Hill co-principal Nick Anderson.

Adjaye told neighbors during a virtual community meeting Wednesday he and his team “know Chicago very well and are big fans of the city.”

“Chicago has this extraordinary heritage of architecture, and Old Town was sort of the roots of that,” Adjaye said. “The neighborhood has beautiful two- to three-story, Victorian-style architecture, which is why that part of the city is so distinct.”

The meeting was meant to be a chance for the developers and architects to introduce themselves to the neighborhood, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said. No design plans have been created.

“This is a blank canvas right now as we start,” Hopkins said. “You all are invited to pick up a paintbrush. Let’s decide together what we want to happen here in conjunction with Moody Church and Fern Hill.”

Developers promised an extensive community engagement process that will include traditional meetings with community groups and an interactive website where people can submit feedback.

The website, which will launch in October, will feature an interactive map where people can click on each property to leave comments on individual parts of the project. It will also provide a record of documents, commentary, timelines and other information on the project.

“We’re really excited to use this new online platform,” said Fern Hill co-principal Mike Ellch. “It’s going to give you an opportunity to engage with us in a new way and hopefully closer to real time.”

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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