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Former Nick's Uptown Building Scores a Landmark Victory

By Adeshina Emmanuel | December 9, 2013 10:27am
 Nick's Uptown, 4015-4017 N. Sheridan Rd.
Nick's Uptown, 4015-4017 N. Sheridan Rd.
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Facebook/ Nicks Uptown

UPTOWN — A 1920s Egyptian Revival style building that most recently housed the popular late-night bar Nick's Uptown has been granted preliminary landmark status by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

The commission granted the building at 4015-4017 N. Sheridan Rd. preliminary landmark status after a unanimous vote Thursday, city spokesman Peter Strazzabosco said.

Neighbors have feared the building's demise since Nick's closed abruptly in September and its owner sold his property to Thorek Memorial Hospital, 850 W. Irving Park Road. Bill Petty, president of Buena Park Neighbors, the block club in the area that includes Nick's, said hospital officials want to turn it into a wellness center but haven't given any timelines yet.

A hospital spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The hospital is considered a good community partner by a lot of neighbors. Thorek, however, also has a reputation in Buena Park, a southern part of Uptown, for buying and demolishing buildings, and then leaving vacant lots with yet undefined expansion plans in mind.

The one-story building covers more than 7,000 square feet. Thorek has previously said it would prefer to tear the building down, but that the hospital is open to preserving the building as part of wellness center plans if the city landmarks it.

Designed by architect Paul Gerhardt and built in 1920, the building at 4015-4017 N. Sheridan Rd. is a former car showroom that later was known as the Cairo Supper Club from 1949-1964 before it was closed after being firebombed. It had housed Nick's since 2000 before closing in September, depriving the community of a late-night bar where things were known to sometimes get sloppy toward the end of the night.

Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said he backs landmark status for the building. It's "one of three buildings left in Chicago that has an Egyptian motif design which, when combined with other criteria, deems it as a building that deserves protection from the threat of demolition," Cappleman told constituents in a newsletter this fall.

"I spoke with Thorek and they agree," Cappleman said.

The next steps toward full landmark status include a public hearing; a final commission vote on landmark status for the building; votes by the City Council's Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards; and a full council vote to make the landmark designation official.

For previous coverage of the closing of Nick's Uptown, and the subsequent preservation fight, click here.