Zoning changes and expansion of SSA #29 were part of Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Assn. meeting

Date: 
09/22/2012
StJohn

St. John Church

There were three key issues discussed at the the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association's monthly meeting, Thurs., Sept. 20, in St. Helen’s School Hall.

Package Goods License for Anne’s Bakery

In June 2012, a tenant’s carelessly discarded cigarette caused a fire that extensively damaged three buildings on the corner of Leavitt and Chicago, where Anne’s Bakery is located. At the request of Alderman Scott Waugespack, the owner of the bakery, Wolodymyr Siryj, and his attorney, Ros Saciuk, came to the meeting to explain the extensive renovations that the buildings and bakery are now undergoing and the reason for requesting a Packaged Goods License for the bakery.

ChurchSchool

The bakery has been in existence for well over 50 years and in the Siryj family for over 22 years. It is well known for its freshly baked Eastern European Rye bread. The family has always and is dedicated to the concept of the business being a neighborhood bakery. They explained that the bakery will be expanded by 500 sq. ft. in addition to the already existing 3,800 sg. ft., to offer more room for bakery items, deli offerings, groceries, seating space and, if permitted, a cooler sized refrigerated space for a small selection of beer, wine and hard liquor. This is being requested as a convenience for their customers, who now must go to Dominicks or CVS Pharmacy for these products. The vision of the owner is to remain a bakery, not become a tavern. The package items will not be sold as individual cans of beer, ale or small alcohol bottles.

During the question and answer session, the owners emphasized that the primary business will be the bakery and nothing else.  There will be no cans of beer or ale sold individually or will any alcohol be allowed to be consumed on the premises.  The bakery is well over the 100 feet from a school as required by law. At present, Dominicks, CVS Pharmacy, Richies Deli and recently Red Apple have Packaged Goods Licenses. If any problems arise, legal recourse is available.

St. John's Church 

Altar

Sancturary

Tim Desmond representing Hoyne Development Partners LLC and Ken DeMuth of Pappageorge Haymes Partners, presented their plans for the adaptive reuse of the St. John Church and School, located on the corner of Walton and Hoyne (913-25 N. Hoyne). The partnership is under contract for the property and is looking to close the deal by the end of the year, if they can get the zoning change from a RT4 to a RN5 rating. Pappageorge Haymes are the Architects for the design plans. The group is dedicated to redevelopment and renovation of historic properties and has many award winning rehab projects to its credit. They have met with Alderman Scott Waugespack and the landmarks staff to discuss the redevelopment of this property.

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Looking toward back of sanctuary is the front door

The front facade, including the stained glass of the church will be r epaired and preserved. The facade of the school will be kept but the glass blocked windows of the school will be replaced with glass. They estimate between 16 to 18 condo units will be constructed with adequate parking to be created in the basement of each structure. Access to the parking facility will be from the alley. The condos initial plans call for 800 to 1500 sq. ft. condo units with preliminary pricing ranging from $300,000 to $550,000 in price, including in-door parking. The development team stressed that both the unit sizes and prices are very preliminary at this time and subject to change as the design is finalized. This is not a typical condo box construction and will not be possible without a rezoning change. The zoning change is needed to allow for the interior filling in of space only. The North stained glass window openings will be replaced with clear glass due to the construction of a second floor in the church. The window openings will remain the same and the stained glass will be reused somewhere in the project if practical. Skylight openings on the church and school roof will be part of the review of the historic aspects of the project by the City landmarks staff.

StainGlass

The courtyard, building setback and grass area around the church and school offer a unique opportunity for great landscaping possibilities around the property. The elevated crosswalk between the church and school will be removed. The Bell tower will remain. Balconies and terraces are being investigated. There are no plans for a deck on the roofs. They may seek a tax freeze for the school property. Mr. Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago suggested that they try to obtain the tax freeze for the church property as well. The group was requested to review the infrastructure; especially if the sewer system will adequately service the property.

West Town’s SSA #29 proposal

The Special Service Area (SSA) is an economic development tool that was created by state statute and city ordinance, which allows extra self-imposed real estate property taxes to be collected to fund added services for a defined area. It is the only taxing body in which property owners choose to be assessed and have direct decision-making authority on the use of those funds.

The latest, as of yet not confirmed, information is that West Town Chamber of Commerce is continuing to seek to expand its SSA area to include sections of Western Avenue and has lost interest in the Damen Avenue expansion. We will pass on any more information when available.

Church photos by Elaine Coorens

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