SOUTH LAKEVIEW — Neighbors were pleased to hear that a former funeral home will be converted into retail shops, leaving the original structure intact.
The 1920s-era building at 1356 W. Wellington Ave. housed the Herdegen-Brieske Funeral Home until September. Now developers plan to gut the interior and build a one-story addition to the existing building.
The building will house three or four tenants, although none have signed on to the project yet, said ChiArc architect Vince Bertucci. The rendering Bertucci presented at Tuesday's South Lakeview Neighbors meeting also depicted a two-story addition, which he said is no longer the plan.
Up until a few weeks ago, developers were considering converting the building into residential units or, alternatively, knocking it down and attempting to replicate the design.
"But the more you look at it, the more you realize it's in relatively good shape. The idea is to clean it out on the inside and get all new utilities, but still have the same look and feel," Bertucci said.
Neighbors applauded the move, with one saying he was "pleasantly surprised" to hear the original structure would remain.
Some did worry that parking would become more difficult — particularly with the new Whole Foods Market planned for two blocks north — but the developers also bought an adjacent parking lot. Bertucci said it was possible the lot would see further development in the future, but there were currently no existing plans.
Bertucci also said after consulting with a landmark architect, the building did not qualify for landmark designation, because "although it's very nice, it really wasn't significant enough to warrant the 12-month process to even find out if it was possible."
Since the developers aren't tearing down the building or requesting a zoning change, Bertucci said they would be applying for permits in the near future.
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