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Bidding Begins For Shuttered Stewart Elementary Wednesday

By Josh McGhee | September 23, 2015 6:17am
 Stewart School, 4525 N. Kenmore Ave., was closed in 2013.
Stewart School, 4525 N. Kenmore Ave., was closed in 2013.
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Metropolitan Planning Council

UPTOWN — The bidding process for the shuttered Graeme Stewart School building, which has garnered attention from various different buyers over the last two years, will finally begin Wednesday, according to the CPS website.

Stewart was one of 50 schools closed by CPS in 2013. The bidding process for the school building at 4525 N. Kenmore Ave. begins at 2 p.m., the website said.

The bidding process has been in limbo since a proposal to move Decatur Classical School into the building using Uptown TIF money didn't go over smoothly at a Chicago Board of Education meeting in November. Decatur has been looking to expand for the last few years, and Ald. James Cappleman (46th) supported moving the school to Uptown, calling it "the perfect opportunity to have this remain a public school."

But in July, Cappleman told constituents via email he couldn't support state or CPS funds going toward the selective enrollment school's expansion and asked CPS to open up the bidding process to developers and other interested parties.

Opening up the bidding process made the Decatur expansion to Stewart less likely, Decatur Local School Council Chairman Tim McCaffrey said at the time. But he's "not giving up until the building is actually sold."

Waldorf School in Rogers Park has shown interest in moving into Stewart as well. Community members have envisioned the school being reborn as a theater, community center, retail space, affordable housing or some combination of the ideas.

CPS has said it is required to sell the property to the highest bidder, and that Stewart will be sold "as is."

In August, Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th) announced Lyman Trumbull Elementary School, which was closed alongside Stewart, would become residential units after Svigos Development outbid the competition for the building. The building near the intersection of Ashland Avenue and Foster Avenue will also house TimeLine Theatre company.

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