LINCOLN PARK — A pair of new developments were cheered for their respect for the past in being granted approval Thursday by the Plan Commission.
A new five-story, 10-unit residence at 2036 N. Clark St. will be a "renovation of and addition to" a '20s-era parking garage on the site, preserving a distinctive facade on North Orleans Street.
And as part of a new development to build a pair of four-story apartment buildings on North Halsted Street, the developer is agreeing to preserve a pair of historic buildings at Halsted and Willow Street previously threatened with demolition.
Both developments cleared the Plan Commission without opposition Thursday.
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) called the new four-story residences being built on parking lots at 1720 and 1818 N. Halsted "two modest additions" to the neighborhood, while applauding the preservation of 1732 N. Halsted, best known as home of the Vinci restaurant, and 1800 N. Halsted across Willow, home of the Willow Room.
Smith pointed out that building was the original 1886 home of Schulien's, later at 1800 W. Irving Park Road (now O'Donovan's), a pioneer in mixing magic with meals, beginning with Harry Blackstone Sr. performing tricks at tables in the '20s.
The developer agreed to make them Chicago landmarks or grant that they contribute to a historic district in order to encourage their preservation.
"That's an important community benefit," Smith said.
Sean Glowacz of the Department of Planning and Development testified that the two new four-story buildings would be "consistent with other buildings" on that stretch and fill "a gap in the Halsted streetscape."
The 2036 N. Clark St. development, meanwhile, will build a glitzy, glass five-story, 10-unit building, complete with open-air terraces on top, above the existing walls of the '20s-era garage. Fernando Espinoza of the Department of Planning and Development said it would be both "a renovation of and addition to" the existing garage.
Smith called it "a wonderful example of integrating new construction into our community while maintaining its historic assets."
She pointed out that, although the building is not technically in a historic district, the Orleans Street facade being retained is across the street from the Mid-North Historic District.
"This is something we try to do in this community," Smith said, "which is keep our historic resources as much as we can while allowing new uses of property."
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