LAKEVIEW — Architect Jonathan Splitt said the historic "eagles building" included in the proposed seven-story development on Broadway would be torn down and rebuilt using the original terra cotta.
"The terra cotta is hung on steel, which is rotting and rusting," said Splitt, whose company Jonathan Splitt Architects partnered with developer Dave Gassman to propose a 80-foot-tall, seven-story mixed-use development at 3817-45 N. Broadway in Lake View East, which would include the "eagles building."
"We like the building; it's interesting" Splitt said of the "eagles building" or the Isaac G. Ettleson building, which was originally built in 1911, designed by architect Harry Hale Waterman and gets it nickname from the eagles rendered in terra cotta around its perimeter. "We're hoping to rebuild it in the same spot."
Gassman, who also owns the building, emphasized Splitt's point by saying "There's no way to preserve the "eagles building" without taking everything down" first. "Those eagles are about to come off," he added.
The pair presented renderings to roughly 25 community group representatives at the 46th Ward Zoning and Development Committee meeting Monday night at Gill Park's field house, 825 W. Sheridan Road.
Right now, the stretch of Broadway has a number of different zoning designations, and Gassman would like to make them consistent.
Slated to cost more than $10 million, the development would include 93 residential units, 93 parking spots, office space and retailers, Ald. James Cappleman's (46th) chief of staff Tressa Feher previously told DNAinfo Chicago.
Parking is proposed for underneath the development. Residential units would range from 760 square feet to 1,400 square feet, Splitt said.
The latest rendering shows the top of the development set back from the street and the white "eagles building" in front, but it does not show what the development will look like along Broadway.
A few community group representatives agreed that they'll need to see more renderings to make sure the developer and the architect maintain the character of the street.
"If they are respectful of its original architecture, then I'm going to be more accepting," said Curt Behnke, who lives in a condominium building at 555 W. Cornelia Ave.
"The character of the street is going to change a lot having that modern facade. But I like the top is set back from the street and I think it's a way better than the other proposal."
Behnke is referring to past proposals for the stretch of Broadway, one of which called for demolishing the "eagles building" altogether, among other things.
When Gassman said the eagles would have to come down regardless of whether the development gets approval, longtime Sheridan Park resident Martin Tangora was quick to respond: "And they need to be put back up regardless because it's an important neighborhood landmark," he said.
Another issue at hand is whether the current retailers on the stretch of Broadway in question would stay open if the plan gets approval. Right now, there's a Starbucks, real estate office, dry cleaning business and chiropractic office, among others.
The developer has yet to meet with the current retailers, but Feher said Gassman has said in past meetings that he'd like to keep some of the retailers there, but thought some might be better for the second floor.
Gassman is not, however, looking for a big retailer to replace all of the smaller businesses, Feher said at the meeting.
In his proposal, Gassman envisions retailers on the first floor, office space on the second floor and residential units on the third through seventh floors, Feher said.
Questions were also raised about the impact on parking and whether the development will increase traffic or include affordable housing.
Feher said she will be requesting more renderings, including one along Broadway, and will present a traffic study to community groups soon.
As for the "eagles building," the alderman's office is continuing to work closely with the city's Commission on Chicago's Landmarks, Feher said.
In the eyes of the Chicago Historic Resource Survey, the building holds high local and national historic significance, according to Ward Miller, executive director for Preservation Chicago.
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