LINCOLN SQUARE — A developer’s reworked plan to build homes in and around the rectory at St. Matthias Catholic Church in Lincoln Square won city approval Wednesday.
Developer CKG Realty Group, LLC’s latest plan would renovate the existing rectory at 2300 W. Ainslie St. into a 12-unit apartment building. The plan also includes the construction of five new townhomes on the Oakley side of the property. Three on site units would be affordable, developers said.
Under the plan, one apartment building would be replaced by a row of three-story townhomes. Four townhomes would have four bedrooms and one would have three. Each townhome would have its own parking space, according to plans shared with Ald. Andre Vasquez’s (40th) office.
City Council approved the plan Wednesday.
CKG Realty Group is comprised of veteran Chicago developer Scott Schiller and his adult child Gray Schiller. This is the first development they’re working on together.
St. Matthias is one of the parishes that was closed as part of the archdiocese’s Renew My Church program, which aims to close and consolidate Catholic churches and schools to save money and create “more vital parishes.”
The parish merged with Queen of Angels, 2330 W. Sunnyside Ave., in Ravenswood last year.
“The [rectory] building is vacant. It’s been vacant for some time and it’s pretty much functionally obsolete, in the sense that its layout and configuration is not something that would work for most of today’s uses,” Scott Schiller previously said. “But it’s a beautiful building. And it’s a building that we have a strong desire to save and rehabilitate so it will exist as an asset to the community.”
A previous version of the plan called for two separate apartment buildings on the site, one with eight units and one with seven, but Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) rejected it amid neighbor complaints about its size and other issues.
St. Matthias’ church building at 2310 W. Ainslie St. was not part of CKG’s proposal, and the archdiocese previously said it does not plan to close the adjacent school.
“The school still uses St. Matthias for classes, and there have been other prayer services held there on occasion. The parish will continue using the building,” archdiocese spokesman Manny Gonzales said.
A group of St. Matthias parishioners have gone over Cardinal Blase Cupich’s head to appeal St. Matthias’ closure with the Vatican.
These parishioners also have launched a nonprofit, Save St. Matthias Church, to fundraise for their legal battle.
Because the church building is still being used in some capacity, the group is in a “stalemate” with the archdiocese, leader Gerry Winters said.
“There’s this process for the archdiocese to formally move forward with the closure. It must state that the church is no longer considered a sacred space. Once that happens, we as parishioners have a right to appeal,” Winters said. “But for the last year and a half, nothing’s changed. And we can’t take any action until that formal closure decree comes in.”
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