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Demolition of Historic Church on Armitage Scheduled to Begin Tuesday

By Paul Biasco | November 5, 2012 5:33pm | Updated on November 19, 2012 8:34am

LINCOLN PARK — Demolition of the historic Greater Little Rock The Lord Church was set to begin Tuesday morning — a controversial move that will see the house of worship replaced with a Walgreens.

The move to knock down the house of worship at 834 W. Armitage Ave. has many neighboring businesses up in arms and questioning the approval process for the new, three-story building.

Residents and business owners said the developers have still not presented detailed plans to the community, despite promises to do so.

Alderman Michele Smith (43rd) held a community meeting Oct. 1 for residents to speak with developer Mark Hunt, general contractor Spiro Tsaparas, CEO of Centaur Construction Co., and a Walgreens executive, but Hunt did not present preliminary designs of the building, according to meeting attendees. Smith questioned why Hunt did not bring any plans and said "we are clearly going to have to have another meeting," according to a Crain's Chicago Business report.

There has not been a second meeting since that date, and a spokeswoman for Smith told DNAinfo Chicago there were no plans to meet again.

The alderman's office posted information online that shows basic plans for the structure of the Walgreens, but the plans lacked details.

Many residents and business owners in the area is the lack of parking along Armitage Avenue.

Results of a traffic study commissioned by the developer concluded that opening a Walgreens would mean an additional 15 vehicles would come and go from the area per hour during peak times.

"If they had the parking there, fine, marvelous," said Dan O'Donnell, who owns a line of storefronts along Armitage Avenue near the site. "Even on Armitage when we get our trucks for the hardware store, we will get the cones out there when we know he's coming between 10 and 2. When they come we have a guy out there directing traffic. Walgreens isn’t going to do that with every truck that comes."

Walgreens officials could not immediately confirm the schedule for the church's demolition.