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2 Historic Rogers Park Buildings Could Add 50 Units If Renovation Plan OK'd

By Linze Rice | June 12, 2017 4:51am | Updated on June 12, 2017 9:38am
 Renderings of plans for 1710 W. Lunt Ave. and 1730 W. Greenleaf Ave., respectively.
Renderings of plans for 1710 W. Lunt Ave. and 1730 W. Greenleaf Ave., respectively.
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ROGERS PARK — Two Rogers Park properties noted by the city for their architectural significance could see major renovations that would add 50 more places to live in the neighborhood. 

The buildings at 1710 W. Lunt Ave. and 1730 W. Greenleaf Ave. are both on the radar of developer David Gassman, who is set to buy the buildings if the city approves zoning changes for them first. 

On Wednesday, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) will hold a community meeting at 1730 W. Greenleaf Ave. where Gassman will present his plans.

Both properties are among 9,600 buildings on the Chicago Landmark Commission's list of properties that possess "some architectural or historic association that makes them potentially significant in the context of the surrounding community.” Although they aren't considered landmarks, they were flagged for their "Classical and Sullivanesque" architectural styles.

On Lunt Avenue, Gassman hopes to expand the 1910s-era, eight-unit building into 20 units by knocking out two garages behind the building and extending the structure by another three stories, Moore wrote to constituents Thursday. The garages would be replaced by a five-spot parking pad and Gassman would try to restore the building's facade, Moore said.

Lutheran Social Services most recently used the building as a sober living facility.

The property at 1730 W. Greenleaf Ave., currently the Ethiopian Community Center of Chicago's headquarters, would need to be rezoned from commercial to residential in order for Gassman to transform the structure into 30 dwelling units. Two stories would be added to the top.

Built in the same era as the Lunt building, the community center first started off as a community laundry and showcases a detailed front facade that would also be restored, Moore said. There would be no on-site parking.

Because both entities are so close to the Rogers Park Metra station, the structures fall under the Chicago's transit-oriented development ordinance, which allows developers to offer less parking than normally required of buildings their size to encourage residents to use public transit. 

Last year Gassman, who owns other residential properties across the North Side, bought and razed the former Morseland building.

Though he vowed to "build something nicer" there, like a similar structure with housing and ground-floor retail, he said, the property quickly became a parking lot. 

Moore said he would support Gassman's latest proposals only if they would fall under a zoning requirement that requires developers to stick to the plans they present the alderman and community, even if the approved zoning change allows for another kind of development.