Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Former Problem Building To Get A Makeover

Money is beginning to be put into some neglected Uptown properties, and that's a good thing!

Buena Park Neighbors has sent out an email blast regarding plans to rehab a long-vacant problem building located at 920 W Cullom which has been a mainstay in housing court.

"Meeting For 920 W. Cullom Renovation

When: Tuesday, February 5th
Time: 7pm
Place: 46th Ward office 4544 N. Broadway
Purpose: To discuss a proposal for renovation of the property at 920 W. Cullom

The new owner of the vacant building at 920 W Cullom is proposing plans that would require a zoning variation. A description of proposed changes is below. 

Alderman Cappleman's office will be hosting a meeting for any neighbors who would like more information or have questions or concerns regarding the proposed changes.  Please RSVP to Abby if you plan to attend so that we can assure that we have enough space to accommodate attendees.

Proposed Addition - 920 W. Cullom.  Sonco Real Estate LLC has acquired a seven unit apartment building at 920 W. Cullom and intends to rehabilitate this boarded up building and return it to its status as a vibrant and attractive part of the community. 

The project: The project will include the construction of a 903 square foot addition to the top floor. There will not be any increase in the number of dwelling units built at this building; rather, the existing basement unit will be combined with the existing first floor unit to create a single duplex unit, offsetting the construction of a new dwelling unit in the top floor addition. The addition will be well set back from the front of the existing building and within height limitations of the current zoning, so as to minimize visibility from the street and impacts to surrounding properties. 

Zoning relief required: The building's current zoning classification is RM5. There will not be a need for a change in zoning classification. Instead, a variation will be sought from the Zoning Board of Appeals for the following relief: 
  • The front of the existing building is 1.5 feet from the front lot line, and is grandfathered under the current zoning ordinance. The top floor addition, although to be built well behind the front wall of the existing building at 11.5 feet from the front lot line, is still closer than the current zoning ordinance's front setback requirement (based on the average setback of the two adjacent properties on each side) of 13.09 feet. 
  • The required site setbacks under the current zoning ordinance are a combined 6.9 feet, with neither side less than 2.8 feet. The west side yard of the existing building is on the west lot line, and is grandfathered under the current zoning ordinance. A portion of the top floor addition will be built to follow the existing west wall upward.
  • There is a fire escape on the east wall of the existing building. This fire escape will be removed and replaced with a new enclosed staircase. The existing building's east wall is 3.25 feet west of the east lot line. The wall of the newly-constructed stairway enclosure will be roughly one foot closer to the east lot line.
  • The floor area of the existing building is 8,708 square feet. The floor area allowed on the subject lot under the current zoning ordinance is 7,450 square feet. However, the construction of the proposed 903 square foot top floor addition would increase the floor area of the building by only 10.4 percent. Variations may be authorized to increase the floor area in buildings located in RM5 districts by up to 15 percent over the floor area in existence 50 years ago.
  • The building height (with the proposed addition) will be 45 feet, which is less than the 47 feet permitted under the RM5 zoning classification for lots with frontage of 32 feet or more (the subject lot's frontage is 34.5 feet); accordingly, no zoning relief is required for the building height."


  1. Another crap building bites the dust… This building was definitely a crack den, I remember only a few years ago when I’d see the sketchiest people walking out of it.

    Also, I heard the woodwork inside is amazing, perhaps even salvageable?

  2. Any word whether they'll be redoing the building near the corner of Cullom and Broadway?