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Revised Plans Still Call For Significant Demolition of Historic Andersonville Graystone, Community Meeting Planned

A historic Andersonville graystone house that was built in 1908 by two local Swedish immigrant brothers, Christ and John Christiansen, is at the center of a battle that pits a Chicago developer (Aidan Development) against a growing number of area residents.

Neighbors of the building in question at 1436 Berwyn were outraged at the idea of the architecturally significant home falling victim to the wrecking ball. As a result, an online petition was signed by close to 600 residents and hundreds of emails from concerned people opposed to the demolition flooded the alderman’s office.

The Alderman then met with both parties to see if they could work out a compromise. The developer came out of that meeting with the intention of drawing up a new set of plans.

However, the revised plans which were recently released to the group spearheading the opposition, still call for significant demolition of the building.

“There has been a group of about 20 nearby neighbors that have met over the past 6 weeks. They have reviewed thoroughly the revised plans saving the façade,” said Kathy Klink-Flores (who owns the home next door at 1430 W. Berwyn). “They feel the revised plans are equally offensive as the old plans. The new plans are merely a token attempt to save the façade and in reality allow the developer to create more square footage.”

In fact, the only remaining part of the graystone home will be the facade and part of the west wall. The new building will be built into it, eclipsing the structure with a large six-unit condo complex. A plan that some residents are already calling ‘Soldier Field revisited.’

Additionally, a historic 110-year-old elm tree at the back of the property is also in danger. It is the largest tree of its kind in the area.

To date, most area organizations are on board to save the property including East Andersonville Resident’s Council, Edgewater Historical Society, Edgewater Environmental Sustainability Project, Landmarks Illinois and Preservation Chicago.

“The general (neighborhood) vibe, overall to me, seems to be one of people scratching their heads and asking why on earth would someone want to do this,” said Klink-Flores. “These buildings are some of the most beautiful buildings in the area. We all love this building, the open space and the tree. It is part of why Andersonville is so nice.”

The Alderman has planned a community informational meeting regarding the proposed development on Monday, June 26, 7:30 p.m. at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St. The developer, architect, and zoning attorney will be on hand to talk about the project and answer any questions the community might have. The architectural drawings should be made public at the meeting as well.

If you have any questions about this meeting, please call the 48th Ward office at 773-784-5277. 




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