Edgeville Buzz

Residents Concerned As Loyola Expansion Into Edgewater Eyes 2 More Building Demolitions

6330 Winthrop

Loyola has slated two more demolitions of buildings on Winthrop in Edgewater including a large multi-unit apartment complex to make way for a large dormitory. The plans have raised questions for many residents about the expansion of the Loyola campus into the Edgewater neighborhood.

The proposed residence hall will be on the 6300 block of Winthrop and 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.

The move has sounded alarms for many residents and local groups including the Edgewater Historical Society (EHS) and the Edgewater Sustainability Project (ESP). Both buildings have an abundance of ornamental charm, 6312 with its robust interior and  6330’s decorative front that throws back to the renaissance-style of architecture that was popular in Chicago in the early 1900s.

6312 Winthrop

They are also raising the questions about the cost of demolition and the environmental hazards it may cause. The apartment complex, which is a fire-proof concrete building, most likely has lead paint in it. The groups think the buildings are sustainable and useful as they are and could be rehabbed if money was put into them.

Kathy Gemperle, who is the Vice President of the Edgewater Historical Society, is preparing a fight to save the two buildings. She believes that the demolition will further subtract from the Edgewater charm on the 6300 block of Winthrop and take away additional affordable living opportunities for residents. Both EHS and ESP feel blind-sided by Loyola’s decision to demolish the structures and not to include them in the initial planning stages of the dormitory.

“It’s hard when you’re dealing with a large institution whose decision making you were not privy to,” said Gemperle. “We were not included in the initial decision. We want a good community partner in Loyola.”

6312, which is one of the area’s last single family homes and is now vacant, was used as a Loyola alumni center for years until it was transitioned to another building. 6330 is currently used as an affordable apartment complex for both students and residents and the leases of its occupants are currently not being renewed.

“Years ago Loyola met with the Edgewater Community Council (ECC) to discuss about expanding into the northern part of Edgewater,” Gemperle added. “ECC supported that, but they did not support it as demolition. The demolitions have to stop. They have demolished enough.”

Since Loyola starting purchasing buildings south of the campus in Edgewater, the institution has purchased all but one building on the 6300 block of Winthrop and has torn down over half the structures. They are using most the remaining mid-century buildings as Loyola student housing.

According to Gemperle, Alderman Harry Osterman is planning community meetings about the proposal. His office has not yet made a decision about the demolitions and Loyola development.

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