Skip to contents
Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

8 Years After Uptown Neighbors Lost Battle To Save An 1896 Victorian, The Plan To Build Apartments On The Site Returns

A developer demolished a home for apartments only to have his zoning request denied. The developer is back with a similar plan.

The Victorian home at 4642 N. Magnolia Ave. was demolished in 2014 and could be replaced by a six-unit building.
DNAinfo file photo; 46th Ward Office
  • Credibility:

UPTOWN — An apartment development proposal that stalled eight years ago following a local preservation effort is now back on the table.

Finan Development Corp. is seeking Ald. James Cappleman’s (46th) approval to build a six-unit apartment building at 4642 N. Magnolia Ave. It is the second time the firm is making such a request after it demolished a 117-year-old home on the site in early 2014 in anticipation of a favorable zoning ruling.

The rezoning to allow for the apartment development, however, failed. Neighbors angry over the home’s demolition voted against the proposal, causing Cappleman to turn down the zoning request. The Magnolia Avenue site has remained vacant since 2014.

Now, the development and rezoning proposal are back — and this time they have been more favorably received by neighbors.

The Finan family, which owns Ravenswood establishment O’Shaughnessy’s Public House, are again asking to build six apartments on the former single-family-home site.

Credit: DNAinfo file photo
The century-old Victorian home at 4642 N. Magnolia Ave.

Plans call for a three-and-a-half story building with two, four-bedroom duplex units and four, two-bedroom units, development documents show.

The building would include six parking spaces and a rooftop deck. Because the project is less than 10 units, it does not have an affordability requirement.

The Finans bought the development site for $525,000 in 2014, about 15 years after the home on the property was damaged in a fire. The developers said the home could not be salvaged and sought a demolition permit for the house built in 1896.

Because the house was listed as potentially historically significant by the city, a 90-day review of the demolition application was required.

DNAinfo: 117-Year-Old Victorian Home At The Center Of Preservation Fight In Uptown

Neighbors helped lead a charge to save the home, saying it could be preserved despite the fire damage. The Finans offered to sell the home to a preservation-minded buyer and also offered to swap the fire-damaged home with neighbor Martin Tangora’s home. Tangora is the president of the Magnolia-Malden Neighbors Block Club.

Neither effort worked out and a demolition permit was eventually issued.

The plan to replace the demolished home stalled after neighbors voted 19-0 against granting the developer’s zoning request.

At the time, an attorney for the Finans said the property could linger as a vacant lot until market conditions make developing the land under the current single-family home zoning.

Instead, the family is again seeking a zoning change for an apartment project.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
The development site at 4642 N. Magnolia Ave.

The Magnolia-Malden neighbors signed off on the zoning request this time after a back-and-forth with the developer and a tight vote. An early survey of neighbors ended with a 46-42 vote against the developer’s proposal. But after more dialogue, a second voted ended in 58-47 in favor of granting the zoning request, according to a letter the block club sent to Cappleman’s office.

Neighbors signaled their support while sending some questions to the development team, including more specifics on the type of masonry planned for the building and if the project can make use of an existing wrought-iron fence.

Cappleman said he will announce whether he supports the project and required rezoning after the developer responds to neighbors’ written questions.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Thanks for subscribing to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods. Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: