Edgeville Buzz

Edgewater Residents Say Loyola Has Been Ignoring Them as They Make Last Efforts to Halt Demo of 2 Area Buildings

The proposed dormitory from a July, 2018 meeting.

Edgewater residents have been attempting to halt the proposed demolition of two area structures on the 6300 block of N. Winthrop that will make way for a large scale dormitory for Loyola University. Now those individuals are claiming that the university is ignoring their request for a meeting about the plans.

The proposed 400-bed residence hall will house the sophomore students. They want to build it on a large open lot owned by Loyola that once contained the Wincrest Nursing Home and was demolished several years ago. To make way for the dormitory Loyola will also need to demolish two other buildings it owns on either side of the vacant lot, a single family home at 6312 N. Winthrop built in 1912 and a seven-story apartment complex at 6330 N. Winthrop built in the mid-1920s.

Those opposed to the demolition include members of the Edgewater Historical Society (EHS) and the Edgewater Environmental Sustainability Project (EESP). They feel that Loyola’s rapid expansion of the university into North Edgewater is changing the neighborhood drastically as several building have already been leveled to make way for new structures. They are also concerned about the aesthetic and environmental impact it will have on the neighborhood.

Kathy Gemperle, who is the Vice President of the Edgewater Historical Society, said the group did meet with Loyola back in July of 2018. They saw the plans but were told it was just a draft. According to her, they received a letter in October from Loyola saying that they were expecting to move forward with their plans for the demolition to make way for the new dormitory. Since then, repeated requests from both EHS and ESP for a sit-down meeting to discuss have fell on deaf ears.

“We wrote Loyola for another discussion on ways they could move forward with their plans but leave the two structures standing and preserve those historic buildings,” said Gemperle. “Then we received a letter back from Loyola stating their original position. Since then we have not been able to get another meeting.”

Alderman Harry Osterman has been working with EHS, EESP and Loyola to find a solution. According to him, it was critical that the proposal found local housing for residents occupying the 7-story apartment building. The Alderman also talked with Loyola about a possible adaptive reuse of the current buildings.

However, the reality from Loyola’s perspective was that it was not possible considering the cost to renovate the existing buildings and the need to build a brand new dorm to meet the needs of its students. Loyola is currently awaiting a zoning variance approval to move forward.

“I am in support of the zoning variance and the expectations are that the buildings will be coming down and they will be building the dorms,” Alderman Osterman said. “Moving forward however, I am going to arrange for Loyola to do a proactive review of properties that they own in the area in order to look at issues that may come up down the road among residents that are concerned about the historic buildings.”

Alderman Osterman said he was approached by EHS and EESP about another meeting with Loyola and that he would attempt to make it happen. However, once the zoning variance is approved Loyola could possibly begin demolition as early as this month.

We invite you to comment as Edgeville Buzz's GUEST. We review all submissions before they go live on our site. We encourage civil dialogue. Posts must adhere to our comment policy and we reserve the right to delete posts/ban users for instances of inappropriate language, bullying speech, character defamation, spam, etc.