LOGAN SQUARE — Construction crews this week tore down the historic Weyland Building's facade to make way for the apartment project at 1968-70 N. Milwaukee Ave. — despite the developer's commitment to preserve the building back in November.
But concerned neighbors and preservationists needn't worry, the developer said.
The developer behind the project, Clacyo, is having crews take apart all of the limestone pieces and the cornices in order to reuse them.
The Weyland Building was built in 1907. [Google Maps]
After discovering a host of structural and foundational issues with the facade, the developer requested a change from the city earlier this month. Instead of keeping the facade intact and building around it, the developer asked the city for permission to dismantle the facade and then rebuild it.
The painstaking disassembly process includes digitally scanning, measuring and numbering each piece of facade, according to Alan Schachtman, principal at Clayco.
The developer argued that this way the facade would look better and be more sound in the end.
"The re-assembled facade will certainly look better than what was there before, as the facade had been patched in various places with disparate materials," Schachtman said in an email.
Still, preservationists like Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation, cast a wary eye.
"I don't like to see these kinds of changes because it's easier for the facade to be damaged coming down," Schneider said.
Yet Schachtman said he can "assure" any skeptics that a rebuilt version of the facade will be incorporated into the design, which is required under a city agreement.
In an email, Brittany Burke, director of communications for CRG — the real estate arm of Clayco that's overseeing the project — emphasized that the building is "not historic."
"It is not on the City’s historic register and it is not orange rated. However, it is a really old building with a façade the neighborhood group wanted to save. We’re glad to do that," Burke wrote.
Built in 1907, the Weyland Building was never landmarked, but preservationists said it was worth saving for a number of reasons, the main one being that it was designed by architect John Ahlshlager.
Ahlshalger designed several buildings that have since been landmarked, including the Logan Theatre and Schulze Bakery in Washington Park.
Ahead of the city approval process, Logan Square Preservation launched a petition to save the Weyland Building from demolition, which gained nearly 600 signatures.
The development calls for an eight-story building offering 132 apartments.