ROGERS PARK — A 100-year-old building that was once the headquarters of the Rogers Park Women's Club could see new life as a theater house and performing arts center.
The building at 7077 N. Ashland Ave. had been up for grabs since the Unification Church moved out in 2012 until Bart O'Toole, of The Cuckoo's Theatre Project, bought the building earlier this year with the hopes of making it his theater company's home, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said in an email to residents.
On Tuesday, Moore will hold a community meeting at the building to discuss O'Toole's proposed rehab of the building — which includes converting old offices, meeting rooms and a ballroom into a 100-person theater, smaller 36-person theater and rehearsal spaces. The renovation would require a zoning change from its prior use as a church.
Because it was formerly a church, Moore said a zoning administrator ruled the new owners would not have to provide off-street parking, but 10 spaces were already set aside at the nearby St. Paul's Church By the Lake for patrons to use.
The classical prairie-style structure was designed by architect Elbert Somers and built in 1916.
The Chicago Historic Resources Survey considers the building to have "some architectural feature or historical association that made them potentially significant in the context of the surrounding community."
The 10,000-square-foot, two-story building was paid for by 27 members of the women's club who had founded, then maintained, the Senn High School lunch room in order to pay off the mortgage, according to the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society.
Members of the Rogers Park Women's Club dedicate the building's first cornerstone during a ceremony in 1916. [Facebook/Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society]
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