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St. Boniface Condo Conversion In Noble Square Nearing Construction After Years Of Delays, Developer Says

Developer Michael Skoulsky hopes tenants will begin moving into the church by fall 2023: "At this point, there's no way that it doesn't come together."

A rendering of the St. Boniface Church redevelopment project
Provided/Michael Skoulsky
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NOBLE SQUARE — Construction on a long-delayed project to turn a historical Noble Square church into condos will begin as soon as the city grants a key permit, the developer said this week.

St. Boniface Church, 1358 W. Chestnut St., was bought in 2016 by STAS Development President Michael Skoulsky, who pledged to convert the church and an empty lot next door into dozens of residential units.

After years of delays, Skoulsky said Wednesday he’s started submitting permits for phase one of the project, which includes the church renovation and a putting up a three-story building behind it.

“The permits are going to come in two parts; we submitted for our structural permit to get started, with all the complicated steel and everything that has to go inside the church. And our full permit should be being submitted very shortly after that,” he said. “We’re pushing as hard as possible to start as soon as possible.”

Fourteen out of 18 condos in the church are under contract, Skoulsky said. An additional unit was added to the original plan, which called for 17 condos.

Credit: Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago
St. Boniface Church in Noble Square, which is being redeveloped into condos

Skoulsky said he’s done interior demolition and structural work on the almost-120-year-old church.

“It’s been a ton of work … so we’ve done a pretty good job moving past all that. Now we’re just in for permits,” he said.

The three-story building will include affordable residential units and office space for Northwestern Settlement House, a social services provider based a few blocks north.

Phase two of the development will include a four-story residential building directly east of the church. Skoulsky said the building will likely include 20 condos, but plans are still being finalized.

Skoulsky has begun to “softly” pre-sell units in the second condo building, he said. They will bring a “more contemporary approach” to the development, according to its website. They’ll be priced at $899,000-$1.3 million.

Credit: Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago
The empty lot where a four-story condo building is expected to be built as part of the St. Boniface redevelopment

Overlooking Eckhart Park, St. Boniface was the focus of a protracted neighborhood preservation battle after the Archdiocese of Chicago closed it in 1990.

The church was designed by architect Henry Schlacks, who also designed numerous other houses of worship around Chicago. St. Boniface Parish dates back to the 1860s, according to a website dedicated to its history. The church was completed in 1904.

Facing demolition threats over the years, West Town neighbors and Preservation Chicago launched a campaign to save the building, culminating in Skoulsky buying the building.

Now, as units are sold and permits submitted, Skoulsky is confident the project will move forward. He said he hopes the first tenants can move into the church by fall 2023.

“At this point, there’s no way that it doesn’t come together,” said Skoulsky, who lives a few blocks west of the church. “It’s finally happening, and as a neighbor I’m very happy about it.”

Credit: Provided/Michael Skoulsky
Rendering of a condo interior at the St. Boniface Church redevelopment
Credit: Provided/Michael Skoulsky

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