Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sheridan Park Home Slated For Demolition

If the buyer of 4642 N. Magnolia has their say, this home from 1896 will meet the wrecking ball. A reader sends us the letter (see below) he received notifying him of the impending plans to demolish and build a 6 unit building. We know the home is in need of major TLC, but does that warrant demolition? The home is rated "orange" by the city so that means there is a waiting period while its fate is determined by the city. Just like with Nick's Uptown, you can contact the Landmarks Commission (info below) and let your thoughts be known.

click to enlarge
33 N. LaSalle St.
Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60602
TEL: (312) 744-3200
FAX: (312) 744-9140


  1. Argh. This stinks.

    May St. doesn't go as far north as 4600 N. The lawyer doesn't even list the developer's correct address.

  2. The sale is contingent upon the rezoning. The original owners would be happy to sell the property to someone prepared to restore it, but they've had difficulty finding someone who the bank would be willing to finance. The house is gutted. and its asking price is $575k.

  3. P.S. Apparently Redfin is advertising it at $525k.

  4. This is at least an arguably attractive building. Some of the arguments, all of the arguments, for "preserving" the nearby Hull House property were wrong. That building was buttugly. I know buttugly. I am buttugly. I do miss the gorilla though. Bring back the gorilla and reopen Jake's then all will be right with the world.

    That being said there are some issues with this house. The assessor's site lists the following:

    Garage Size/Type2
    2 car detached
    Building Square Footage

    It's also on an 8100 square foot lot. That's a small house for a lot that size.

    That's a double lot plus. For arguments sake let's pretend the lot has been vacant for years. If so an oversized eight unit center entrance building would be appropriate.

    If this building does get demolished I would suggest that the alderman "require" that a particularly attractive building be built to replace it. That means no split face block and an architect who doesn't need to have his fingers amputated.

    As of this point I'm open to arguments on both sides whether to preserve this building or not. As I said unlike the lamented Hull House this isn't a friggin eyesore.

  5. When Sheridan Park was established, it was mostly made up of these kinds of buildings, which were mostly replaced by six and eight flats. Very few of the original housing stock remains. This is an attractive example, and ought to be preserved. Only a few years ago, the sellers of this house also tore down the house which sat just north of the greystone that is next to Starbuck's, leaving only three of the original houses on the 4600 block of Magnolia. The developer who owns the Chernobylesque lots on the 4600 block of Malden tore down all of the houses there, as well as the Queen Anne on the 4600 block of Beacon. Utilitarian clone buildings are a step above a vacant lot (or that awful Hull House building), but they are certainly not an improvement over an attractive 19th century house like the one which one of our neighbors affectionately named "Emily" at 4642 N. Magnolia.

  6. Well Mabie DENISE DAVIS would be interested in purchasing this house, I'm sure she will be able to afford it after she wins the race for aldermen. Ijs

  7. Unless someone intends to buy this house, I don't see how anyone can expect to weigh in here. Someone wants or needs to sell their house and there is a willing buyer. Unless you intend to take the house off the seller's hands, MYOB. I don't understand the objective here - is it better to have an abandoned but pretty building on the block? Sure, it's a crack house, but the charm of Sheridan Park has been preserved.

  8. Currently, Dover St in Sheridan Park is designated historical. This effort to move for the designation is a desire to preserve the integrity of Sheridan Park. I am concerned that in losing this home, which is a 1896 Wm G Weigh house and received the American Institute of Architecture Award for Design, we are losing a home that is significant to Sheridan Park.

    So much of the housing in Sheridan Park is mixed with home owners and renters. This breaks down further to home owners of single family homes, the minority and condominium owners the majority. Because of this breakdown, the neighborhood has a difficult time mobilizing to preserve significant historical homes.

    Please take a moment a write the Landmarks Commission and Cappleman's office.

  9. The developer that bought this house was well aware of the zoning. I feel zero compassion. As a regular joe homeowner that has lost money on his home too, if I wanted to get out of it, I would need to sell it at a loss, which many here in Uptown have. I would suggest to the Alderman that this is part of a capitalistic society when you make a bet, you are not guaranteed to win. The developer can cut the price, take a loss, and sell it to the highest bidder, just like us normal folks would have to do..

    1. The question is not whether you would or would not make money on selling your property. Ultimately, the question should be what's best for the neighborhood.

      By the way, Finan, the purported developer, hasn't purchased the property yet. It's under contract contingent on him getting the zoning change.

      Also if the comments on the DNAINFO story are correct the house has been vacant for decades. Not good.

    2. The argument for saving the house is simple. It's purdy and old and it's a reminder of Sheridan Park past. Not a great argument, but not entirely without merit.

      The argument for tearing it down is more complex. Property rights, maximizing value, bringing more people into the hood, more property taxes etc. That too has merit.

      Now I don't know the exact dimensions of the lot, but according to the assessor it's 8100 square feet. That's a double lot plus.

      Here's an idea which may or may not be workable. Save Ferris, I mean the house and build a small multi unit building behind it. The building to the north seems to be nearly lot line to lot line so I don't think a small building behind his fine old example of old Sheridan Park would be inappropriate.

      Problem solved! Next I cure gingivitis and the heartbreak of psoriasis.

      Tune in same Bat Channel and same Batty commenter.

  10. Saving this house is absolutely possible.

    I’ve just finished rebuilding a single family house two blocks north, so I have a pretty good idea of what it would take to restore this house, as well as how to make it affordable. In fact, this house has a lot of things going for it that we didn’t on our project.

    Also, don’t kid yourself about a developer making something attractive at these numbers. If you do the math, The reason for the zoning change is that the lot currently warrants a three flat. With the change he can do six, but he’s got to build for less than $122 a square foot to break even. Bare bones basic construction for residential starts above $150/sf.

    If you happen to be a household with good credit, a steady income north of $120K, and more than half that amount in savings who would like to take this on, I’d be willing to help a future neighbor figure out how to save this house.