EAST VILLAGE— It's been five years since Logan Square's Central Hispanic Seventh-day Adventists prayed inside 913 N. Hoyne Ave., though their former house of worship in East Village continues to be part of their lives since they still haven't sold it.
"We've tried realtors, word of mouth, an auction," said Jori Gomez, secretary of the church.
On the market since 2008, a banner went up in May advertising a church auction and website.
In June, the city's Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved a ''preliminary landmark designation'' for the seven-lot building and adjacent school. The move protects the church from any possibility of demolition or significant exterior alteration, said Paul Strazzabosco, a Chicago Landmarks spokesman.
A public hearing to propose landmark designation status is scheduled for 2 p.m Tuesday.
Roger Driver, treasurer of the Willowbrook-based Illinois Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church which owns the property told DNAinfo.com Chicago that he was unaware of the hearing and did not receive a mailing from the city.
When asked about the hearing's public notice signage on the grounds of the church, Driver replied that he has not visited the property lately.
After deals with two developers fell through—the most recent within the past 10 days—broker Aaron Heidebrink of Sheldon Good and Company whose been trying to market the 17,532 square-feet parcel to buyers, said that the preliminary landmark designation enacted in June is the reason why deals are falling through.
Jonathan Fine, founder of Preservation Chicago, said he'd met with a potential buyer about a month ago.
"Developers were aware that it was a historic landmark and then got deeper into the project and decided it wasn't worth their while. Whether there were other buyers since then, I don't know, but the buyers we met with were aware of the property's historic status," Fine said.
Strazzabosco said that the property was supposed to have been included in a 2004 Ukrainian Village historic district expansion but it "got carved out" because the Adventists had been using the space for assembly and requested exemption.
Municipal city code states that, "No building that is owned by a religious organization and is used primarily as a place for the conduct of religious ceremonies shall be designated as a historical landmark without the consent of its owner."
Jeremiah Gawryk, 68, lives across from the empty church.
"Personally I don't care if they want to do this or that. If you ask me, they could open it up and make a nice nightclub. When you get a big structure like this, in an economy like ours, who's going to buy it?" Gawryk wondered.