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Apartments in Converted Gothic Revival Church on Damen Snapped Up Fast

By Alisa Hauser | July 29, 2014 2:50pm
 Only one of 11 apartments is still available for rent inside a century-old church at 1338 N. Damen Ave. in Wicker Park.
Damen Avenue Loft Apartments in Old Church
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WICKER PARK — If you have always wanted to live in a former church, your time is running out — at least on the northwest corner of Evergreen and Damen avenues in Wicker Park where just one apartment in an Gothic revival-style cathedral is still up for rent.

"It's a beautiful building. We are very happy to have been able to restore it and bring it back to the way it should look," said Jim Jann, co-owner of JAB Real Estate Inc., a North Center-based firm that owns and manages apartment buildings in several North Side neighborhoods.

A sign in front of the 1870s-era church promotes features such as "soaring ceilings with stained glass windows," hardwood floors, in-unit washer and dryer, custom kitchens and parking.

View photos inside the apartments here.

Jann and his business partner Frank Campise purchased the former Chicago Missionary Society church at 1338 N. Damen Ave. and a house that sits on the rear lot at 2016 W. Evergreen for $1.3 million in April 2013.

On Tuesday, Jann said nine of the 10 loft apartments are rented, with the first tenants scheduled to move in on Friday.

A single-family home called the parsonage home — a nod to former clergy quarters — is still available for rent. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home is located behind the church and is being listed for $5,500 per month. 

Rents inside the former church, which was divided into 10 apartments, range from $1,700 for a one-bedroom apartment to $4,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit that is the only unit still available for rent, Jann said.

After receiving a building permit from the city in January, the church was remodeled by MHB Contracting. Jann's firm also worked with a stained glass restoration company to spruce up the church's original stained glass on the front facade.

"The [stained] glass was boarded over and painted green. It was pretty horrible and the building was extremely dilapidated and pieces were entirely missing. There were bird's nests," Jann said.

Exterior elements of note include an ornamental piece that was installed over windows. The piece is currently a shiny copper color but will eventually turn into "a pale minty green" when it oxidizes in a season or two, Jann said.

Interior architectural designs such as 35-foot high ceilings in the second floor apartments and beadboard wood ceilings were among the features that appealed to renters, along with proximity to the nearby park and CTA Damen Blue Line "L" station, Jann said.

"It's really a unique property and very different from other apartments. We hope it is an asset to the neighborhood," Jann said.

For more information about the apartments, visit jabrealestate.com/for-rent/.

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